Gaillardia x grandiflora is a wonderful thing, with that extra little bit of oomph that hybrid status brings to a plant. They may be comparatively short-lived as perennials, but their free flowering nature along with their bright daisy-like flowers make this a great value perennial for a sunny well drained border.
A member of Asteraceae, and a native of North and South America, this wonderful plant is let down by its rather dull common name, “Blanket Flower.”
Some people argue the name comes from the free flowering nature of the plant and the blanket of flowers. However others argue that the blanket in question is the brightly coloured one favoured by Native American Indians.
These brightly coloured blankets have their own folklore – a Native American Indian child was alone on the Prairie, the child became cold & afraid, and asked the Great Spirit to provide her with a blanket. When the child woke at dawn, she was covered with flowers that were identical in colour to her Mother’s weavings.
It has also been suggested that according to Aztec legend, Gaillardia flowers were originally only yellow in colour, however when the murderous Conquistadores arrived the flower felt such sadness at the sight of all of the Aztec blood that was shed and so it added red in to its flowers to honour those who lost their lives.
The Gaillardia part of the name comes from M. Gaillard de Charentonneau a French magistrate and patron of Botany.
After much consideration the form that we have chosen to include in our 100 Perennials is “Fanfare”
There are over two dozen species ofGaillardia and most are native to some area of North America. There is Gaillardia pulchella, which is native from southeast of the USA and south into Mexico.
This was cross bred with Gaillardia aristata, a prairie flower, to create Gaillardia X grandiflora. We believe “Fanfare” to be one of the finest forms. It was bred by Farplants in Sussex, from a sport either of Gaillardia x grandiflora “Dazzler” or “Goblin” which had appeared in a garden in Pagham, West Sussex.
Each of the petals on the flowers which are over 3 inches across is in a trumpet shape rather than a flat daisy flower. This in my humble opinion, along with the incredibly bright colour of the flower lifts this plant to a whole new level.
Gaillardia x grandiflora “Fanfare” grows best in a free draining soil, in a bright sunny spot. The plant is low growing only getting to 14 inches or so. Gaillardia is fully hardy, if the roots are in swell drained soil and whilst short lived are easy to root and self seed. They should be divided every three years to keep them vigorous.
All Gaillardias as much loved by bees and butterflies.