Gaillardia aristata

Blanket flower or Great Gaillardia is a very showy native perennial that is found over a wide area. It has limited appearances in the Willamette Valley and even prairies in Puget Sound. It becomes much more common in the Columbia Gorge and points east. It is adapted to dry slopes with adequate drainage and the 3″ yellow flowers  with a red central cone appear beginning in May with continuous re-bloom until autumn on plants that have had spent flowers removed.  To 10″ tall in bloom a happy clump can measure 2′ across. In the wild, without supplemental summer irrigation the yellow flowers appear for 4-6 weeks before setting seed and going summer dormant. Plants that have irrigation will happily continue blooming. Water should be applied deeply but infrequently and the plant should dry between irrigation. This is the native form of Blanket Flower, it has simple yellow petals that surround a red central cone. A very adaptable American native perennial that has undergone extensive hybridization and solid colors from dusky  solid red to brown are also available. The most commonly cultivated form has yellow petals with a continuous zone of red around the cone- this is not that. Charming native perennial that attracts a vast amount of native pollinators and is not bothered by deer (not sure about rabbits). Full sun and average to enriched soil. Tolerates extreme drought and cold. Thrives in the reflected heat of hell strips, asphalt, and hot walls. May self sow, and this is welcome. Often it will wind up in cracks and crevices- mimicking this plants life between rocks and boulders. Mix with Agastaches, Origanum, Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum) for a long blooming pollinator paradise.  Easy to grow great garden plant. Frequently visited by butterflies.  Native in the Portland city limits.  Oregon native plant.

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