Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day: Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'
Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' is a late summer stalwart on my patio. I have a longish narrow bed in the corner, dominated by a fig tree and with a couple of winter flowering clematis growing up our neighbour's garage wall. This is a perennial sunflower, which grows to 5 or 6 feet tall, with lighter yellow flowers than most of its perennial and annual cousins. Personally, I think the lighter lemon suits the softer rays of autumn's sunshine.
This area doesn't have a decent depth of soil, which is fine for the fig, but at the height of summer my sunflowers suffer a little. As a consequence this is the only garden bed which gets an additional watering, usually the waste water from our kitchen. I now have a couple of options to consider: either to build up the soil depth with a thick mulch so my sunflowers fare better, or to replace them with something else. Earlier in the year I was all for replacing them with raspberries as part of my Allotment at Home endeavours as that's one of the crops I miss the most. Raspberries don't mind a relatively shallow soil but now I have sunny blooms on show, I'm swithering in my decision.
I will have to do something though: I've never split these plants and a quick look back in my blog and I can see they're not flowering so well as they have previously. To split or replace, that is the question.
It's a good plant for pollinators which is most definitely in its favour, though of course the abundant honey bees all flew away when I appeared with my camera. Thank goodness the pictured hoverfly wasn't so shy earlier on in the autumn. Another factor to consider is NAH's concerns about the possibility of raspberry canes invading the rest of the garden. He mentions it every time I talk about planting raspberries as he has childhood memories of them marauding all over the garden at his parents. He's not convinced by my reassurance they'll be kept in check by our huge patio!
I have all winter to decide. What would you do?
Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.