Sweet coneflower (Rudbeckia subtomentosa) is a taller, to 5 feet, black-eyed susan for medium to moist clay soils. Like others in the family, it will bloom cheerily for weeks in heat and humidity, and will give you a good crop of seeds to winter sow outdoors in the fall.
This is prime butterfly season. You can deadhead flowers and hope for a second, smaller flush, or leave them up for winter interest. Most birds will eat the seeds in fall, so you have to decide if deadheading is worth the gamble. Usually it's best to leave up coneflowers and other mid- to later-summer bloomers, but early summer blooms might be a good bet to cut back. Here a tiger swallowtail is enjoying a pit stop.
It's hot out there, so make sure you have a water source for birds. Running or splashing water will attract the most birds, and this action creates droplets or small pools on leaves or soil that butterflies and other insects can more easily drink. A bonus is that the fountain might mask unwanted neighborhood sounds, such as car stereos.
I see neighbors watering beds and lawns at 4 p.m., which is a very wasteful time to water as wind and heat evaporate moisture long before it gets to roots — morning is a much better time. Also, for vegetable and flower beds, drip irrigation is a great way to go — it gets water right where it's needed, and uses less water, too. Install a timer on your hose and you'll never have to think twice about watering.