Please excuse me being plant obsessed at this time of year, but a herbaceous bed, planted with wildlife in mind, can really keep the autumn garden humming with life and colour.

And here is another staple of the September fireworks display - Rudbeckia, often called Black-eyed Susan. I took this photo last weekend, so you can see it is still looking fantastic, and you can hopefully make out a Honeybee happy on one of Susan's eyes.

These are American plants in origin - amazing to think that there are places where they grow wild looking just like this - with half a dozen or so commonly grown species all looking somewhat similar such as this one, Rudbeckia fulgida.

Most of the species grow a little bit tall and lanky, fine if you have a large garden and deep flowerbeds, but there are plenty of cultivars for the smaller garden too. I've been trying Rudbeckia hirta 'Toto' this year, that just grows to about 10 inches (25cm) but without much success for insects. Cultivars are such unpredicatble creatures - sometimes they are just as wholesome for insects as the parent plants; sometimes they seem to lose most of their attractiveness. But I'm going to keep it going another year just in case.

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