The color in my memories
Updated: Jun 17, 2019
Even as I intentionally avoided the annual native Gaillardia Pulchella, it lurked in my memories and its beauty unexpectedly found its way into my garden, albeit on another plant.
Like moth to flame, even seasoned gardeners with seemingly nowhere left to plant struggle to avoid the lure of the garden center in Spring. Many of us are drawn to these plant meccas simply to be among the blossoms and foliage. This is what led me to the realization of my problem, a previously unidentified prejudice for native plants with bi-color, red centered and yellow tipped, blossoms.
As I wandered through rows of plants, I discovered the sunny and warm blooms of a new coreopsis cultivar called UpTick(TM) Gold and Bronze. I began to daydream about how pretty this nook would be in bloom, the orangy-red coreopsis, complementing a dark red and yellow Mexican Hat (Ratibida Columnifera). I could imagine how the colors would complement each other in one of my many WIPs (works in progress), a microprairie lining a south-facing, brick wall and how this combination would mimic the roadsides I spent years staring at riding a bright yellow school bus down Oklahoma's red dirt roads, bouncing around in pickup truck with the windows down in summertime, or even the rides in a horse-drawn wagon when our closest neighbor (if at least half a mile is close) trained his horses to pull carriages for special occasions in our small town.
I remembered years spent riding a bright yellow school bus down Oklahoma's red dirt roads...
The particular microprairie where these plants would find a home had been a struggle for me. I so dearly wanted to heavily plant the area with Indian Blanket (Gaillardia Pulchella), the state wildflower of Oklahoma. I had intentionally steered away from planting Gaillardia due to it being an annual.
Indian Blanket reseeds itself easily and would reliably return every year given the space, however this meant only lightly mulching and a light mulching would mean lots of weeding, particularly in early spring when my hands are busy with the vegetable gardens. I made a conscious decision a few years ago to strive for my vegetable gardens being my only annuals so Indian Blanket did not align with that strategy.
Coreopsis though is also a native plant, with both perennial and annual varieties. Unfortunately, the bi-colored variety, Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) is also an annual. The UpTick cultivars are perennial which made it an excellent choice for my microprairie and provides the color I from my memories but the ease of a perennial that will return on its own every year.
Facts about UpTick(TM) Gold and Bronze Coreopsis
It is a patented plant. This means it is illegal to sell seeds or cuttings without an agreement with the patent holder.
Perennial; Zones 9-5
Grows 12-14" tall
Blooms for most of the summer; June-September
Cultivar of native plants
Is used as a nectar plant by native butterflies and bees