Home » Home and Garden » Corner Make-over and Greenbelt’s Black-Eyed Susans

Corner Make-over and Greenbelt’s Black-Eyed Susans

posted in: Home and Garden

Last fall I wrote about the jungle-to-garden make-over I’d just started at the corner of Westway and Ridge Roads.


To refresh, here’s what it looked like. I passed it every day and let’s just say it didn’t help my mood. I jumped at the chance to do a make-over – with donated plants and months of weeding.

black-eyed Susans in Old Greenbelt

A year later here’s the same spot, with Black-eyed Susans blooming their hearts out. They were all donated by Mary Lou Williamson, who recently donated even more of them. She’d called out to me from her passing car one day to tell me the garden “needs more color!” and right she was.

Mary Lou’s not alone in appreciating this cheerful perennial – the Rubeckia fulgida – that also happens to be the Maryland State Flower.

black-eyed Susans in Old Greenbelt, Ridge Road
Along Ridge Road at 33 Court

Old Greenbelters seem to love it – there are patches of Susans all over town. (And not just in the plant world, either. I’ve never lived someplace with so many Susans!)

So I think of this as our Signature Flower of Summer. I’m not sure that’s an official thing but it should be.

black-eyed Susans in Old Greenbelt
GHI member yard at Ridge and Hamilton.


black-eyed Susans in Old Greenbelt
Along Gardenway


Hands down, the most dramatic display of Black-Eyed Susans is along Gardenway between Ridge and Crescent. Many GHIers contribute to the effect, and prayer flags add to the festivities.

black-eyed Susans in Old Greenbelt
Yay, Gardenway!


black-eyed Susans in Old Greenbelt
Along Ridge Road, Susans and Myrtles put on a show together.


black-eyed Susans in Old Greenbelt
Inside 60 Court Crescent.


black-eyed Susans in Old Greenbelt
Inside 56 Court Crescent, I believe.

black-eyed Susans in Old GreenbeltThough barely visible from the road, the Susans in 4 Court Hillside are awesome! Here’s the view as you enter the court.

black-eyed Susans in Old Greenbelt

The common area in 5 Court Ridge sports a growing patch of Susans that bloom with Sedums and a Crepe myrtle in the same island bed.


black-eyed Susans in Old Greenbelt
Even community gardeners are getting into the Black-Eyed Susan act.


Growing Black-Eyed Susans

There are plenty of reasons this plant is so popular here, in addition to its cheerfulness and the fact that it’s native to our region. It seeds around quickly and easily to create nice masses or sweeps at no extra cost. The blooms seem to last forever. After its first season in a new spot it’s quite drought-tolerant.

Just be careful moving them – they don’t respond well to being moved and may need frequent watering for a while, even twice a day when it’s hot and sunny. Or move them when it’s cooler and cloudier.

And admittedly they do need some sun but don’t believe the “full sun” requirement that’s often indicated for this plant. The happily blooming ones in my garden don’t get more than three hours a day, so give them chance if you have a spot with at least that much sun, especially if you’re getting them for free.

How about the Other Seasons?

Spring is easy – Greenbelt is covered with azalea and daffodil blooms then. But for fall, nothing comes to mind. So come October, I’ll be on the look-out around town for plants that brighten our days and I’ll report back.

Follow Susan Harris:
“Susan started blogging about Greenbelt soon after moving here in 2012, and that first blog has grown into this nonprofit community website. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog at GardenRant.com and direct the nonprofit Good Gardening Videos.org.”

2 Responses

  1. Sandra Roberts
    | Reply

    I think it would be great to plant more White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) to encourage the Maryland designated butterfly, the Baltimore Checkerspot.

  2. rachel
    | Reply

    I love black eyed susans too. there are quite a few interesting varieties/species. i think rudbeckia triloba keeps its foliage better. its very similar except with more rounded shorter petals. then there is pinwheel henry eiler (?), and various giant types that look great with joe pye weed and hydrangea paniculata.
    another nice plant just starting to bloom is boltonia. and there are also some great eupatoriums beside joe pye weed – the white boneset is just starting and the blue form eupatorium coelestinum – the names have changed i know but they are all similar.

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