A plant with bold colours and daisy-style flowers effortlessly commanded my attention in the marquee at the recent Tatton Park Flower Show. Several plant nurseries had chosen to feature it prominently on their display and this is not a plant to hide its light under a bushel. Identified as Rudbeckia Summerina ‘Orange’, it’s a relatively new hybrid and one to watch. If it seems deeply familiar, that’s perhaps because both of its parents, Rudbeckia and Echinacea, are so widely grown.
A stall holder told me it has all the good qualities of its parents but none of their weak points. It’s early days yet and only time will tell whether it is still around in gardens ten or fifteen years from now, but if I was a betting person, I’d place a small wager on it. A composite description might be:
Rudbeckia Summerina ‘Orange’
Large, long-lasting, daisy-style flowers in bold, velvety colours held on strong, upright, branched stems on a bushy, clump forming, relatively compact plant. It’s tolerant and easy to care for with no need to dead-head to stimulate new flowers or to stake plants to stop them tumbling over. Heat-loving and water-wise once established.
The flowers are supposed to attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, (though, sadly, are not attractive enough to lure the latter across The Pond in tiny all-weather overcoats). Wearing its best of both worlds hat again, the fuzzy stems are said to be less attractive to deer though an impenetrable physical barrier between deer and plants is the only sure-fire defence.
If you search online for a full description, you’ll find this plant and a couple of other colours listed as Echibeckia or Rudbeckia, the latter with or without Summerina™.
Slightly confusing, but it takes time for the experts to conclude what the official genus should be when a breeder develops a new type of plant from two genera that would not naturally cross. I’d vote for Echibeckia (pronounced ecky becky-a) just for the fun factor but I can see that name going the way of Boaty Mc Boatface. Sigh. The RHS are tentatively indicating Rudbeckia.
The variety names are a trip too. In the USA, Jackson & Perkins, who like to market exclusives, are listing ‘Butterscotch Biscuit’, describing it as a ‘triumph of horticultural science’, a ‘botanical breakthrough’ and ‘extremely cutworthy’ (a new one on me, but I get the point).
Allplant EU continue the baking imagery by offering ‘Pecan Pie’. Other names you may find in your area include ‘Brown Turin’, ‘Orange Turin’, ‘Patio Brown’, ‘Patio Orange’ and ‘Patio Yellow’, ‘Copper’, ‘Brown’ and ‘Yellow’. It’s tempting to conclude that some of these are the same cultivar, marketed under different names by licensees in different territories, but we’d need insider knowledge to be sure of that.
The sheer flower power of Rudbeckia Summerina ‘Orange’ should make it a joy to sell. As Paddock Plants say:
‘Once they started flowering, we took some to shows and they did the old hot cakes trick.’
A plant with young and old flowers will be a lovely mix of colours. ‘Orange’ has a bit of the yellow about it when the flowers are at their freshest; ‘Yellow’ has a bit of orange about it. My guess is that all the varieties’ flowers generally start off a brighter shade then, at various speeds, deepen in colour towards copper-brown.
I can vouch for the fact that it is an eye catching variety and you can judge for yourself whether or not it is photogenic. If the Dutch breeder has managed to give us the best of both worlds, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of Rudbeckia Summerina ‘Orange’. I don’t suppose the breeder would be available for last-ditch Brexit negotiations? Just a thought.