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The Rudbeckia was a ‘hardy herbaceous, handsome weedy’ thing … and no garden needed ‘more than two or three’. The rudbeckias date back in England to John Tradescant times (early seventeenth century), being an import from the Americas. R. hirta, pictured to the left, was imported (or first grown) sometime in the early eighteenth century.

Rudbeckias preferred a dry sandy loam. They were perennials, and could be propagated by seed or cuttings. ‘Being rough and gay and conspicuous at a distance, they are admirably adapted for the front line of a shrubbery’.

Some of the most popular Victorian varieties included Rudbeckia Californica, R. Drummondi (a dwarf variety), R. fulgida, R. hirta, R, laciniata, and R. speciosa.

The Rudbeckia was named after a learned Swedish bishop called John Rudbeck.

Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.

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