Helenium is a full sun perennial with daisy-like flowers, whose petals resemble a tutu, a ballet skirt. The colours of tutu vary from bright yellow shades thorough orange to red and copper tones. The composite flowers appear on stems which can get 30 cm-2 m (1-6 ft.) tall, depending on variety. The majority of the flowers open in late summer and early fall (butterflies are always first to notice the fact!) and last until first frost bites and even longer. The plant grows well in ordinary garden soil enriched with manure or compost. Helenium is especially precious for regions where it does not rain too much as it shows some drought resistance. As a matter of fact, the flowers look best when the weather is hot. To maintain vigour , the 3-4 year-old clumps should be divided and replanted. Helenium also makes a good cut-flower.
The ballet tutu has not been mentioned without purpose. As a suitable music for today's post I have chosen a great song by Mark Knopfler. The title does not sound very joyful neither do the lyrics. But there is something in the song that despite the sad and slightly depressing contents the rhythm makes us ready for dancing. A tasty sweet and sour combination, just like the happy flowers of helenium on the brink of getting frozen. Ready for a farewell dance?