Monday, August 8, 2011

Ode to the Coneflower

Image borrowed from All Gardening Zone
This time of year, I start to see one of my favorite perennials start to bloom - Echinacea, or commonly known as Coneflower. With variety names such as 'Irish Eyes','Tomato Soup', 'Hot Papaya', 'Raspberry Tart', 'Hot Lava', 'Flame Thrower', 'Mac n' Cheese', and 'Now Cheesier', you senses are thrown into overload!

The bright pops of color against our Central Oregon, grey-blue landscape can be quite eye catching! The blooms typically last from late summer through fall with ideal conditions. Echinacea prefers full sun and good drainage. I like to plant my coneflowers near Russian Sage, 'Black Lace' Elder, 'Diablo' Ninebark, 'Autumn Joy' Sedum, ornamental grasses, or fall asters.
Landscape by Blooming Desert Landscapes

There are so many reasons to add Echinacea to your landscape. They are deer resistant, drought tolerant, good for cutting, have a long bloom season, and attract birds, hummingbirds and butterflies. The only thing some might see as a drawback, is that they can fill into a large mass. However, I don't see them as invasive. I see it as an opportunity to divide those plants in the fall to share with your fellow gardeners!  Share the joy!

Most recently, I have spotted some of these unique varieties at Heart Springs Nursery and Moonfire and Sun Garden Center here in Bend. I was surprised to learn that most varieties of Echinacea are USDA hardy to zone 4 or 5.

'Tiki Torch' Coneflower
You can view many other varieties on the Monrovia website.

I have also posted pictures of additional Echinacea varieties on the Blooming Desert Landscapes facebook photo album. Check them out! Get inspired...summer isn't over yet!

'Green Eyes' Coneflower

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