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Posts Tagged ‘coneflowers’

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Looking back at posts from earlier years, I see that I usually do an entry about coneflowers every summer. This year, the summer has zipped past and we are sliding into autumn. I just have time to get my annual echinacea post looked after.

After daylilies, coneflowers may be my favorite garden flowers, though it would be hard to choose. I enjoy both the traditional varieties and newer hybrids that come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Pictured above are my oldest plants, the reliable Magnus on the right, and slightly shorter Ruby Star on the left. They combine nicely with daylilies, grasses and other perennials for a natural look.

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Ruby Star

I took this photo of Ruby Star one morning after a night of rain caused the heads of Panicum virgatum ‘Prairie Sky’, switchgrass or panic grass, to droop over the flowers like a sparkling veil. Once the sun dried the grass, it lifted its head from the flowers.

Secret romance

Secret Romance and Red Admiral

My favorite thing about coneflowers is the way they attract butterflies. I have found that all varieties, even the puffy new hybrids appeal to an assortment of butterflies. Pictured above is a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) visiting Secret Romance.

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Here’s a bank of coneflowers performing in the garden. Echinaceas bloom over a number of weeks. This grouping features Secret Romance on the left, Milkshake, and Now Cheesier. The traditional coneflower at the back of the grouping is Prima Donna. I tried Now Cheesier in three locations in the garden before finally hitting on a spot that allowed it to thrive. Gardening is like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location!

Secret Romance

Secret Romance


Milkshake

Milkshake


Now Cheesier

Now Cheesier

This entrance to a garden path is quite heavily shaded. It receives a few hours of direct sun from about mid afternoon, so is not ideal for coneflowers. However, a couple of my favorites do well here, the bright red mophead Hot Papaya and the amazingly green Green Jewel.

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Hot Papaya

Hot Papaya


Green Jewel

Green Jewel


Green Jewel

Green Jewel

One of the first double coneflowers to hit the market was Doubledecker, which produces a funny cap of stray petals at the top of its cone. It’s not very reliable at producing even these few stray petals. Oh how things have changed since those early days!

Doubledecker

Doubledecker

Here’s the orangey coneflower, Marmalade.

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Marmalade

I try to add a new variety or two to the garden each year. This year, I planted Supreme Cantaloupe in the spring. This photo illustrates the way the flowers start out flat and gradually change colour and form as they mature. Meteor Yellow is also new. These two plants have yet to survive a trial by winter.

Supreme Cantaloupe

Supreme Cantaloupe


meteor yellow

Yellow Meteor

I’ll close with two traditional varieties that do well for me, the white Alba and the tidy 2-foot tall Prairie Splendor.

Alba

Alba


Prairie Splendor

Prairie Splendor

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Echinacea Double Delight

I recently came across an article in a gardening magazine in which the author rails against the unsightly new echinacea hybrids. These poofy clowns would never find their way into her garden! Give her a good, old fashioned coneflower that the pollinators will recognize as a real flower. I’m not such a purist, myself. I have very much enjoyed adding some of the new hybrid echinaceas to the bed. Pictured above is one of them, Pink Double Delight.

Echinacea Magnus

That’s not to say that I spurn traditional coneflowers, not at all. They have a starring role in the midsummer garden. While many of the new echinaceas are smaller plants, standing about 2 feet tall, Magnus holds its flowers high, reaching about four feet.

Echinacea Ruby Star

And here is Ruby Star. It’s just a little shorter than Magnus, and its flowers have a slightly more intense colouring.

Echinacea Primadonna

Primadonna is blooming in a partly shaded section of the garden. The muted flowers are set off beautifully by Geranium ‘Rozanne’.

Echinacea Sundown

Sundown is an unusual shade that I find really is suggestive of a sunset.

Echinacea Alba and Sunset

Here’s Echinacea Alba, with Sundown in the background.

Echinacea Virgin

Virgin is another nice white coneflower. It has large, unusually flat flower heads, with the petals held out stiffly rather than drooping in the traditional coneflower manner.

Echinacea Hot Papaya

I still have space for some exotic doubles. Hot Papaya bloomed heavily last year, and put on an amazing show. It is just starting to bloom this year. It’s not quite so profuse this year, owing, no doubt, to the drought.

Echinacea Meringue

Meringue is situated in an area that has morning shade, where the greenish tint to the flower cones is well-displayed.

Echinacea Secret Passion

Finally, here are a couple of plants that were new to the garden last fall and are just putting out their first show of flowers. I’m really enjoying Secret Passion, above, and Milkshake, below, which are both set off nicely by lime green hosta leaves.

Echinacea Milkshake

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