I have wanted to grow some of our more gregarious Rudbeckia species for several years but it wasn’t until this year, in my small native plant bed inside the deer fence, that I was able to do this. I’m always enamored with how they look when I spot them on roadsides. These were on the road near the Hickory Creek Savannah Unit of the Big Thicket, where the Sundew Trail is located. I spotted them as we were leaving that unit back in May and had Chris pull over so I could take a few photos. I believe these are Rudbeckia texana but there’s also R. maxima and R. grandiflora who look very similar and so it requires looking at the identifying features to parse these out sometimes. There’s also R. scabrifolia (Sabine coneflower) but that’s extremely habitat specific (bogs) and it’s rare so it’s easy to eliminate that one in east Texas from your Rudbeckia list.
Back to the garden, I had R. texana and R. maxima growing, both doing extremely well. I will probably need to re-evaluate those in the coming years so they don’t take over the entire bed. I’m having to do that already for other plants in that tiny space. Not far from where Forest used to go to daycare there were some Rudbeckia that I had thought in driving past for years were actually maxima but I never went over to check and pilfer seeds. They grew in the swale between the road and an empty lot but a few months ago I saw that the Mexican restaurant next door had expanded their parking lot and obliterated that swale. Goodbye Rudbeckias. Such is life when you live in a once “rural” and quiet area that is quickly becoming suburban.
And now we just have to wait around a few months until next Rudbeckia season!