• Betty Girardeau

A Bevy of Susans

A few days ago when I used zinnias for my bog picture someone commented that their favorite was Black Eyed Susans. So, in the interest of equal time, I thought I should give them their moment to shine as well. This picture was taken a couple of years ago, and, while my Susans were very pretty this year, too, now they are looking pretty tired and ragged. I love these flowers, too. They are just so nice and perky. They are also heat and drought resistant as well as requiring very little maintenance. My kind of garden flower! I also like the fact that they spread. Most of the flowers that I have shared with you have had their origins in other continents. But Susan is totally North American. Her cousin is the sunflower, another one of my favorites. I am sure that most of you know that she is the state flower of Maryland. But did you know that she inspired the colors for the University of Southern Mississippi? Florence Burrow Pope, a member of the first graduating class, encouraged classmates to gather these flowers and use them to spell out the name of the class on sheets for class day in 1912 for the Class Day exercises. She suggested that their black and gold colors become those for the class, too. The class did adopt those colors, and ultimately, so did the university. Like a lot of the flowers in my garden, they attract butterflies. They have been used in herbal medicine by Native Americans for a poultice for snake bites and as an infusion to fight colds, flu, and infections. The interesting thing about some varieties of these daisy like flowers is that they are actually annuals and not perennials. While, once planted, you will see the flowers every following year, it is because they reseed themselves. The original plants don't survive the winter. So each year is a new season for them. There are, however, actual perennial versions of them as well. Either way, once you plant them, you can expect to enjoy these charming flowers for many years.

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