This is not a gardening blog. I am an amateur gardener in every sense of the word but I do like a riot of flowers and that has been my aim in trying to tame the jungle around our house. But working out what actually does flower here, through winter snow, early and late frosts, summer thunderstorms and the ministrations of our furry, flying and crawling friends is a steep learning curve. Talk about survival of the fittest; this is really it. You can't be fussy about flowers here; you have to take what you're given.
And what you're given is limited and mostly very yellow.
Take a drive around our neighbourhood and you'll see an ocean of yellow blackeyed Susans, or to give them their posh name, rudbeckia.
Like assistants in some fancy boutique, the garden centre checkout girls at Home Depot (America's version of B and Q) tend to complement you on your choice of purchase.. As if you had a choice. "Ah! Blackeyed Susies! I haven't seen those in a while!" said one. She was being a little economical with the truth. That was back then, of course, when I was still buying them. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for. These days, I spend most of my time trying to cut them back, thin them, transplant them, find gaps to fill with them, shove them into vases. Basically, they have the fecund joie-de-vivre of weeds. Even when I've got fed up with them smothering everything else in the flower bed and shifted them somewhere else in the middle of the August heat, they've still come up cheerfully - and in spades - the following year. Actually it's an open secret that they are really weeds. But let's face it, what would we do without them?