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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Echinacea - Purple Cone Flower

The common name of Echinacea is Purple Cone Flower. I really don't know why it's called that because in my eye, the flower is closer to a dusky pink and the cone itself is definitely orange. Whatever the reason, I just couldn't have a garden without this wonderful perennial.

If the name Echinacea is familiar to you, it's because they use this plant to make a herbal product to help when you have a cold. I've never tried it so I can't tell you more about what it exactly does.

At first the flowers open very flat.

Quickly the petals begin to relax and curve downward. The cone becomes more pronounced. (How do you like the daylily 'Primal Scream in the background?)

Before you know it the petals are all the way down. The plants grow quite large and are covered with blooms in various stages so you can see many different flower forms on one plant.

Echinaceas turn me into a touchy feely person, I just can't resist feeling these cones over and over again. They apparently are quite attractive to a host of other creatures such as butterflies, bees and best of all, come autumn they bring flocks of bright goldfinch to the garden.

This year I have a new variety blooming in my back bed. I had tried one of the fancy yellow varieties there a few years ago but it died. Somehow it must have cross pollinated with the pink ones there because this year I have these luscious white blooms.

I've seen the white varieties in other places and grew them myself many years ago but they tended to limp along. This one is quite different, to begin with, it's chin high on me and I'm 5'7" so that's pretty high for an Echinacea. I'll be keeping my eye on this beauty!

One more note, Echinacea make great cutting flowers so if you have the, include a few in your bouquets.


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