There are about 30 species in the genus Gaillardia and most are native to North America where they are commonly called blanket flowers.
Their daisy flowers have red, yellow, orange and maroon shades that remind us of the rich colors of the blankets woven by the Native Americans.
These plants also blanket themselves with flowers. Gaillardia aristate is native to cones 3 through 8 and grows 2 1/2 feet tall with yellow petals, toothed at the edges and red orange centers.
Plant Your Own
Now, there are lots of new cultivars available too and many are shorter. From summer to fall, if dead headed, they bloom in full sun and their rosettes of hairy leaves do not droop in hot and dry weather.
Gaillardias don’t like heavy clay soil, however, so unless they are planted in a hole with lots of organic matter to amend the soil, they will rot, especially in winter. They must have good drainage.
Cicaly Barker wrote a poem for children about a Gaillardia flower fairy.
There once was a child in a garden,
Who loved all my colors of flame,
The crimson and scarlet and yellow –
But what was my name?
For Gaillardia’s hard to remember!
She looked at my yellow and red,
And thought of the gold and the glory
When the sun goes to bed.
And she troubled no more to remember,
But gave me a splendid new name;
She spoke of my flowers as sunsets –
Then YOU do the same!