Saturday, 17 September 2011

Lemon Queen

Lemon Queen Perennial Sunflower
About this time last year I bought two small pots of Lemon Queen, a perennial Sunflower chosen because it was said to be particularly attractive to bees. 

The soil was still warm so, I planted them in the back of the garden straight away. 

Then came one of the coldest winter in decades. When the snow melted this was what was left...

January 2011 - dead 
I though they were well and truly killed off by the cold. But by April there were signs of  a recovery.

April 2011 - new shoots
May 2011
By May they were still not big enough to see behind the alliums. 

But by August they had reached the top of the obelisk

August 2011
August 2011- plenty of flowers for the bees
September 2011

They still have masses of flowers in September and yesterday (when I took these photos) they were still being visited by some large bumblebees and lots of solitary bees.

Bees still finding plenty of flowers

The honey bees seem to be keener on the pink sedums you can see to the left of the picture.

September 2011
Most of the flowers are at the top of the plant so it is great for the back of a busy border. I have tied the plant to the obelisk as it is getting a bit top heavy. Next year I'll give it the Chelsea chop to keep it a little more compact.

When the sun shines on them, they light up. But, unlike annual sunflowers, they don't seem to follow the sun. It has been pest free, with no aphids or other nasties. It is a great addition to a garden, which is why it earned an RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM)

As you can see from the pictures there are a lot of flowers, so it can get a little top heavy. You may need to stake them if there are high winds or heavy rain that would cause them to flop over. Other than that there isn't much to do. I haven't even dead headed them (mainly because it isn't easy for me to get at them without treading on my other plants.

One Lemon Queen produces hundreds of flowers

I've taken some cuttings for next year and will plant out a sunflower hedge on the allotment. I'm going to grow flowers on the allotment to harvest cut flowers for the house. That way I can get extra mileage from these lovely flowers both inside and out.

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