How to Grow Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy

Rudbeckia hirta Cherry Brandy is a fabulously glamorous plant. With huge crimson red blooms with a hint of golden brandy colouring and a long flowering period these plants are a great addition to the late summer garden. They are brilliant for cut flowers, to attract bees and butterflies or simply enjoy them in your beds and borders.

Rudbeckia are easy to grow from seed. They are Half Hardy Annuals so they are best started off indoors. If you love these plants I recommend sowing twice, first at the beginning of March and then again at the end of April. Plant out the well established young plants when all danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm… usually from May inwards here in the UK. Then you’ll have lots of glamorous flowers all summer long from July until the first frosts in October.

Cherry Brandy Rudbeckias grow to around 60cm / two feet tall so it’s great for the front of a border where you can allow it to encroach on your garden path if you like that natural relaxed look. Alternatively grow three plants in a large container in a sunny spot… make sure they don’t dry out or your plants will suffer, they love moist soil.

You may know Rudbeckias as the Cone Flower or Black Eyed Susan. Both of these common names describe the distinctive button centre of these flowers which is usually dark brown or black. As the flowers age the centre becomes raised forming a cone. Like most Half Hardy Annuals these are lovely plants to grow for late summer and autumn flowers in your garden. They will go on flowering until the first frosts and your bees and butterflies will love them too.

Plant Name                 Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’

Plant Type                   Half Hardy Annual

Height & Spread        60cm/2 feet Tall x 30cm/1 foot wide

Sow Seeds                   Sow seeds indoors in March and April at 16°C-18°C and cover lightly. Grow on in 9cm pots. Plant outside after the last frosts from May onwards 30cm/1 foot apart.

Conditions Required   Rudbeckia like full sun and moist but well drained soil. Make sure that the soil does not dry out or your plants will suffer

Flower Production       Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy takes 12-14 weeks from seed to flower then produces blooms for a good three months.

Picking                         Pick flowers and dead head regularly to encourage production of new blooms.  Cut flowers last up to ten days in a vase if you change the water frequently.

Plant Combinations     The deep red blooms of Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy combine beautifully with autumn grasses and other Rudbeckias such as the golden yellow Rudbeckia Irish Eyes and Rudbeckia Marmalade.


Are you growing Rudbeckia this year?  I’d love to know what you think about these long flowering plants. Which is your favourite?  

Growing information for many seeds is freely available at in the SHOP and on the RESOURCES page.


Bluebells and Red Campion

At last the Bluebells are blooming in our garden. They were already here when we bought our house and spread themselves around as they like. Our house sits on land which is a mix of old farmland and woodland so I’m guessing these plants have grown here a while. The Bluebells are a mix of our native dark blue Bluebells and Spanish Bluebells which have paler blue flowers and pink blooms too. If you’d like to see the difference click the Bluebell on the left. 

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Best Plants for Butterflies

Did you know that Butterflies need our help?

76% of British native and visiting Butterflies have declined since 1976

Changes to the British landscape have affected the habitat and food supply that our butterflies need. Destruction of habitat is thought to be the prime cause with changes in agriculture and horticulture coming a close second. These are the main reasons that Britain is not as Butterfly friendly as it was 40 years ago:

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Happy New Year 2018

Wishing you a very happy and flower filled 2018! May all your hopes and dreams come true.

Love Gillian x

New Flower Seed Collections

New Flower Seed Collections.

There are three exciting new listings for Lucky Dip packages filled with Country Garden Seeds.
Each surprise package may include seeds from any of the following categories:

  • Hardy Annuals
  • Half Hardy Annuals
  • Sweet Peas and Climbers

Please note that every Lucky Dip surprise package is totally unique and no two will contain the same seeds…

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Happiness is a Garden

I love a good gardening book. Over the years I’ve read quite a lot, especially when I earned my living as a Garden Designer. When I needed to know all sorts of technical details learning from others who generously shared their knowledge in a book was brilliant for me. Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies and each year there are lots of new books to choose from. Many of them are very practical giving instructions about HOW TO tackle a particular task. I find it fascinating to read how others approach their garden. I’m also very interested in WHY gardens mean so much to some people.

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Wallflower Giant Pink


Giant Pink Wallflowers are still available in the Pink and White Biennial Flowers Collection. I have a few boxes left and they will sell out fast so to be completely fair it’s first come first served. Sow them this month then your young plants will carry on growing whilst the soil is still warm this autumn. All the seeds in this collection are Hardy Biennials so they will not only survive but thrive outside throughout the winter months then burst into life again in spring. You’ll have a good selection of early pink and white blooms which are lovely in the garden with tulips, perfect for pollinators and excellent for cut flowers of course. There are 6 packets of seed in this collection for £9.95.

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Big Butterfly Count

A Red Admiral butterfly kept me company whist I sat outside enjoying the sunshine and my mid morning coffee today. The beautiful creature fluttered from plant to plant seeking nectar to drink and occasionally rested on the lawn enjoying the sunshine just like me I guess. The butterfly above is a Peacock and the Red Admiral is below on the top left of the square picture.

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The Garden at Dalemain

We visit the Lake District a LOT… we’re less than an hour away so it’s very easy to drive to. We enjoy weekend jaunts to visit beautiful places we have’t seen before and of course we love relaxed lunches in welcoming county pubs! Even so there are some areas we haven’t explored yet and there are gems to uncover.

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Papaver nudicaule Champagne Bubbles

Summer is the time to sow Iceland Poppies and here are my favourites right now. I love this new variety Papaver nudicaule ‘Champagne Bubbles’. They really are the most beautiful flowers to grow from seed. Poppy seeds are so tiny it’s hard to believe that such beautiful blooms are produced in just a few months. I was completely blown away by the large colourful flowers when I took these photos in April in my greenhouse. They have gorgeous open papery blooms which open like crumpled silk. Flowers are all shades of orange, pink, yellow, red and white. They are extremely hardy and will tolerate cold winters. Flowers are produced in late spring and early summer before the rest of the garden really gets going. I’m always looking for some early plants for my garden and these fit the bill beautifully. If you’re looking for some colour in your garden in spring and early summer too then Iceland Poppies may be just the thing for you.

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