Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
A number of the blanket flowers received top honors. These make great cut flowers.
Mesa Yellow blanket flower is a delightful hybrid. This perennial was named a 2010 Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner. It was also named an All-America Selections Flower Award 2010 winner as well. The species was originally native to the southern region of the U.S. Blooming the first year from seed, this vigorous variety is very early to bloom.
This variety received other awards as well. It was chosen as one of the best new varieties, and was also named one of the best overall performers at the University of Illinois trial gardens. The trials took place in the Miles C. Hartley Selections Garden, located at the University of Illinois Arboretum in Urbana.
Mesa Yellow is over 1˝ feet in height. If you don’t have enough space in the cutting garden, this can be grown in containers. The plants are resistant to drought. Nearly two feet wide, these are upright, well branched plants that produce lots of stems for cutting. This is hardy to zone five.
The blossoms begin to appear considerably earlier than most blanket flowers, usually within four months from the time the seeds are planted. Flowering will continue non-stop until frost.
The golden yellow flowers are three inches in diameter. Unlike most blanket flowers, these have solid yellow petals with no contrasting color towards the center.
For early flowering in the cutting garden, start seeds of Mesa Yellow indoors, perhaps two months before the last expected frost date. Don’t cover the seeds as they need light in order to sprout. These need a relatively warm temperature in order to germinate—at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Georgia Yellow blanket flower received a Classic City Award at the University of Georgia Trial Gardens in Athens. Well adapted to hot and humid climates, this plant was introduced by Athens Select. Winter hardy to zone seven, this has pure yellow petals and yellow centers.
Georgia Yellow has petals with notched ends. This variety blooms non-stop throughout the growing season beginning in late spring and continuing into the fall. Georgia Yellow has erect, sturdy stems, and is especially free flowering.
In the cutting garden, the blanket flowers need full sun. They prefer a well-drained soil. Bedding plants of Mesa Yellow and Georgia Yellow blanket flowers will be available in 2010. You can also buy seeds of Mesa Yellow.
Blanket flowers have a vase life of about a week. They’re used in mixed bouquets and as a mass flower.