Our colourful Heleniums are undoubtedly my favourite late summer or early fall flower. They are just so bright and varied, and form a bright spark in our garden. Helenium is the genus; some horticultural varieties are known as Sneezeweed.
It's this view, from underneath showing the sun lighting up the petals, that makes this my favourite.
The first time I got a picture from below, looking upwards, I was hooked on these flowers. Since these are my favourite photos of the week, I'm linking to Mersad Donko's Through My Lens meme.
It looks pretty good from above too, and the colours run a remarkable gamut from yellow to red, even on the petals of a single flower. This genus is an example of a flower group that was introduced to Europe from North America, in the great rush of botanical collectors roaming the world in the 1700's. Then the plant breeders took over, and today there are numerous garden varieties.
They definitely need full sun. Our tallest oldest patch is well above my head, while these recently planted ones are only 2 feet tall yet. But a clump that was in light shade died out in a matter of two years.
I've been intrigued with how the tiny florets in the centre of these flowers each open, get fertilized and then form this unique pattern on the flower head (below) that I've seen in no other member of the sunflower family.
They bloom for a long time, they are colourful, and they're hardy. What more could you ask of a garden flower?