The green headed coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) rises above all of the summer flowers in the garden at this time of year. Standing 6 - 7 feet tall, it is truely a giant. The green headed coneflower stretches up to meet the other gold giant that can not be ignored - the blazing hot sun. It is a native to eastern North America and does well in wet soil conditions, although it is planted in a dry area of my garden. The center should be green, hence the name, however mine has yet to turn any shade other than gold.
I find the green headed coneflower to be a good companion plant of butterfly bushes. They are about the same height and together form a nice sort of hedge at the back of the bed.
Another equally excellent companion plant is the Chaste Tree. The gorgeous blue flowers are a real show stopper with the coneflower. They are also about the same height and so their flowers mix together to make a pleasing combination.
One would be remiss if the common black eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta) was not mentioned when discussing golds in the garden. An easy to find perennial at any small or large garden shop, it becomes the grounding flower in my garden at the end of July. It does have to be sprayed with critter repellent as the rabbits will grind it down to twigs if you look away for even a second.
Black eyed susans pair well with other coneflowers and decorative grasses. When the grasses send up their feathery plumes there is nothing finer than the look of a bed filled with blacked eyed susans and wispy grasses swaying in a warm breeze. It reminds me that autumn is just around the corner.