Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Heliopsis helianthoides or, as I like to call her, the Flower of the Valley.
Gorgeous stands cornering homes, store signs, flower beds and barns. You can’t get away from this bloom of sunshine that lasts from June through August in the Ottawa valley. More than any government signpost, they signal tourists upon their arrival in beautiful cottage country.
And who can blame the gardeners, for among their many virtues, they are waist high (at least!) and attractive with deep green, very “full” foliage. Sometimes called false sunflower, the common name fits it well as it is happy in just about any soil, fills in nicely and handles drought. Once upon a time, I had them in the garden at our first home.
Wait, have I declared my everlasting love for them as cut flowers yet? They last so long and hold both their shape and color, splashing summer into every nook and cranny. Oh such a beautiful flower. One of my favorites of all time.
On our camping trip last month they were in full show everywhere we went. If only I had such timing to hit the autumn colors at their height!
And then we came home and I immediately noticed their absence from gardens in town. Where did all the heliopsis go?! How could anyone forget you? You are deserving of love, my beauty.
Could it be that trends exist even in gardening? Silly people. My path was clear before me: rescue this forgotten horticultural damsel by growing and displaying and introducing everyone to her.
I cornered some poor girl at a garden center, ready to lecture, but more importantly to find where out they were hiding the heliopsis. She had none in stock. /sigh
Well, that mystery was easy to solve. If the most popular greenhouse with three huge locations in the area didn’t have her, then no one had helio for sale. She did have some 7 foot tall variety, but I’ve seen those fully grown here and there, and they are the gangly awkward cousin of my majestic beauty. Sometimes bigger is not better. No thanks.
She just shrugged and said they weren’t in demand and that they could only get them like twice in the season which is to say not at all really.
Thank goodness they had some Shasta daises I could pick up to make myself feel better… for now.
You know what this means, right? Next year for our trip to the Valley I’m packing a shovel.
p.s. have you seen my new “about” page? I made it better!