Brown-Eyed Susan

Like we mentioned with New England Aster, sometimes you just don’t need to stray too far away from the classics, so we sprinkled a few brown-eyed Susans in here. While this is one of America’s favorite wildflowers, have you ever wondered who Susan is?

As the story goes, it comes from a poem titled “Black-Eyed Susan” written by John Gay (1685-1732). It starts like this:

All in the downs, the fleet was moored,
Banners waving in the wind.
When Black-Eyed Susan came aboard,
and eyed the burly men.
“Tell me ye sailors, tell me true
Does my Sweet William sail with you?”
Though battle call me from thy arms
Let not my pretty Susan mourn;
Though cannons roar, yet safe from harms
William shall to his Dear return.
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly
Lest precious tears should drop from Susan’s eye.

Since this is an English poem, it means the settlers had to have named this plant when they landed on these shores. Settlers also brought foreign plants to this country, and one of those plants is called Sweet William. It blooms generally red, but cultivars have bred it to bloom a variety of colors. It has been planted right next to (black) brown-eyed Susans for centuries, and it blooms at the exact same time. Making it quite the companion plant, and a fitting tie to the poem written long ago. 

Take care of your brown-eyed Susan by planting her in full sun in the fall or spring.