Until this plant began to bloom last week, I thought I knew what rudbeckias were all about. Mention coneflowers and the name brings up mental images of coarse, colorful, sometimes unpleasantly hispid plants with a proven track record for amenity plantings and contemporary grass gardens. Most likely absent from those mental images are qualities such as refinement, grace and delicacy.
I bought 'Prairie Glow' because I liked the picture on the potted plant I selected, and the written description suggested that it would provide plenty of color. And I figured that it would attract goldfinches. All of this, I assumed, in the typical cone flower package.
Now that the plant has been blooming freely I realize that this is a real find.The flowers are, so far, small (a bit more than an inch in diameter) and are carried on very thin stems. The whole plant has a determined uprightness about it, yet the stems are thin and graceful. The flowers are the real surprise: the blooms have a lacquered quality and the color contrast in the petals is heightened as if the two colors had been painted on.
This one is definitely a keeper! Some Googling suggests that although sold as a perennial, it will probably prove to be a short-lived one. But it can be grown from seed, and probably easily.