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Archives of the Garden Splendor® eNewsletter are available online the year after first publication. The article below is from the Garden Splendor® eNewsletter (Volume 1, Issue 4). The Garden Splendor® eNewsletter is sent free-of-charge to our Garden Club members. It only takes a minute to become a Garden Club member — and it's free to join!

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'
A Black-Eyed Susan to Sing About!

“If you knew Susie"..... starts the well-known DeSylva & Meyer song. These words, along with the common name Black-eyed Susan, may be familiar to you. But are you familiar with the best Black-eyed Susan – Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm' - or where the common name comes from?

Rudebeckia 'Goldstrum'

Black-eyed Susan is probably one of the best known wildflowers. This all-American genus doesn't occur naturally anywhere else in the world! From now through early fall they grace our countryside from Quebec to Florida and from “Sea to shining sea”!

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' is hardy, easy to grow and easy to care for. Short and compact (only 2 feet tall), it attracts butterflies. It also lasts very well as a cut flower and usually is not bothered by deer, or any major pests and diseases.

The name Goldsturm means 'Gold Storm'. When you are over to our garden center next, check out our freshly arrived Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'. You will quickly see for yourself just how appropriate this name is. The entire plant is literally covered with deep golden yellow flowers. In fact, there are often so many flowers at times that it is almost impossible to see the leaves! This very desirable “storm” lasts for an incredibly long time too, especially if you remove the spent flowers.

If you have a small place and only room for one or two plants to perform as soloists you should consider this plant. If you have a larger area, where they can be massed, this plant is right for you too. Either way you are sure to have a truly magnificent display.

Big Full Plants = Instant Effect

Rudebeckia 'Goldstrum'

Now, I don't want you to get the impression that you have to buy a lot of plants and wait years to get this effect – you don't! As you know, one of the trademark features of Garden Splendor® plants are that they are big, full-sized specimens that are loaded with buds and flowers - perfect for creating an instant effect. So go ahead and indulge, by creating an immediate and real impact in your garden.

Getting back to the history end of things, Black-eyed Susan was a real person. Well, sort of. Read her story below.

Check our Plant Encyclopedia to learn more about Rudbeckia in general, and 'Goldsturm' in particular.

Until next time, remember.... Enjoy your gardening. It's good for you!


Who was Black-eyed Susan?

Where did this common name come from? Well, believe it not, it’s from a song. Turns out that back in the early 1700s, when our American flora was being discovered, a popular ballad was circulating. Written around 1720, and no later than 1723, by John Gay (1685-1732, best known for his 1728 Beggar's Opera), it told of a young woman named Susan, eyes darkened with sadness and tears going onboard a British warship to search for her departing sailor sweetheart William. The ship is about to sail, and he has to convince her of his love.

The lyrics were very popular and appeared in several ballad operas of the time. The words were set to various scores by different composers, including Carey, Leveridge, Haydon and Sandonis. The most popular of these tunes was written by Richard Leveridge (1670-1758).


All in the dawn the fleet was moor'd,
The streamers waving to the wind,
When Black-eyed Susan came on board,
Oh where shall I my true love find?

Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William, if my sweet William
Sails among your crew?

Oh William, who high upon the yard,
Rocked with the billows to and fro,
Soon as her well-known voice he heard,
He sigh'd and cast his eyes below:
The cord slides swiftly thro' his glowing hands
And as quick as lightning, and as quick as lightning
On the deck he stands.

So sweet the lark, high poised in air,
Shuts close his pinions to his breast,
If, chance, his mate's shrill voice he hear,
And drops at once into her nest:
The noblest captain in the British fleet
Might envy William, might envy William's
Lip those kisses sweet.

'Oh Susan, Susan, lovely dear!
My vows shall ever true remain,
Let me kiss off that falling tear,
We only part to meet again:
Change as ye list, ye winds, my heart shall be
The faithful compass, the faithful compass
That still points to thee.

'Oh, believe not what the landsmen say
Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind,
They'll tell thee sailors when away,
In every port a mistress find:
Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so,
For thou art present, for thou art present
Wheresoe'er I go.

If to fair India's coast we sail,
Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright:
Thy breath is Africa's spicy gale,
Thy skin as ivory so white:
Thus every beauteous object that I view
Wakes in my soul, wakes in my soul
Some charm of lovely Sue.'

Though battle call me from thy arms
Let not my pretty Susan mourn:
Though cannon roar, yet safe from harms
William shall to his dear return:
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly
Lest precious tears, lest precious tears
Should drop from Susan's eye.

The boatswain gave the dreadful word,
Her sails their swelling bosom spread:
No longer can she stay on board -
They kissed, she sighed, he hung his head:
Her lessening boat unwilling rows to land,
'Adieu,' she cries, 'Adieu,' she cries
And waved her lily hand.


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