Daylilies are like eye candy for humans, but they’re not a big draw for pollinators, in spite of the impression this skipper resting on Broken Heart might give. For bugs, I have other plants. A favorite of both me and the insects is coneflower, or echinacea.
Echinacea mixes well with daylilies and other perennials and is a big draw for butterflies. Two nice varieties for mixing with other plants are Ruby Star and Magnus. They’ve both been reliable bloomers in my garden. In the photo above, that’s Ruby Star near the centre, and Magnus on the far left.
Here’s another shot of Ruby Star mingling with daylilies. The yellow flowers are Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Summer Nights’. Ruby Star stands about 40 inches tall.
Magnus is very similar, perhaps a few inches shorter, and has reddish stems. Here’s Magnus blooming with the plumes of Giant Fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha) and a phlox variety in the background. The thistle-like flowers are Echinops bannaticus ‘Star Frost’. To the right is the switchgrass Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’.
For a shorter coneflower, Prairie Splendor is an excellent choice. This clump, being watched over by Charlie Bird (Jake the Rake?) stands about 24 inches tall.
Close to Prairie Splendor is a double echinacea, Pink Double Delight. It’s been in the garden for a few years and has done well. Like its neighbour, it is about two feet tall. Here is a Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus) enjoying the flowers.
I’ve had fun growing some of the new echinacea hybrids that have arrived on the market in the last few years. They feature some unusual non-traditional colours and many have pompom or mophead flowers. One of my favorites is Hot Papaya, which I’ve had for a few years.
New this summer was the orange Marmalade. I added it to the Red and Gold border.
Many ‘green’ flowers have only a slight hint of green. However, Green Jewel is quite emphatically green. I love the complexity of the pattern in the flower head.
This little white coneflower is Meringue. It’s a compact plant, about 18 inches tall.
Meringue was a favorite white until I met Milkshake. Milkshake is about twice as tall as Meringue, reaching 3 feet. I find that, from a distance, the yellow centres of the flowers give them the appearance of egg whites with the yolk in the middle! This flower has a White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis) butterfly visiting it.
Milkshake provides a backdrop for the pink flowers of Secret Romance, another favorite.
I’ll close with this picture of a rather battered Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) on Prairie Splendor.