Nature Notes


Gaillardias are members of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and are endemic in N and S America. They are very drought-tolerant, are perennial, and have the common name of Blanket Flowers. There are at least two-dozen varieties of Gaillardia, and the name comes from M. Galliard de Charentonneau who was an 18th-century French patron of botany. The common name originates from the flowers' inflorescence's that have a similarity to the brightly patterned blankets made by native Americans. They thrive in free-draining soil and plenty of sun, but will not tolerate claggy clay soil which will rot their roots. The group in the picture below were photographed in early morning shade in my garden just before the warm sun reached them. Flower photography is best carried out in semi-shade so as not to lose detail in the shadows and highlights of the plants.