2 08 2011

Echinacea purpurea - Just regular old beautiful gorgeous, magenta, colored reflexed petals.

Echinacea Purpurea ‘Kim’s Knee High’

Now we all got our favorite plants, some of them are our favorites for all time, some are our favorites for about a week or until we see something else we like more in some mail order catalog or at the nursery or at my house or your neighbors house. But for me, well I been a fan of echinacea purpurea ever since I saw a drift in the front yard of someones house in over in the Garden Hills section of Buckhead in Atlanta….I rode by that house and saw these long stems up in the air ending with these purple things that looked like badminton birds but was really the most lovely reflexed petaled flower I ever seen. Not only did it take my breath but I created a traffic jam on Lindbergh Road as I stopped right in the middle of the road looking at that vision of purple loveliness as the cars backed up into Peachtree Street…..:-) I finally moved over to the side of the road to let the cars go by and got out to take a close look at my new favorite flower and as I did someone in one of the cars leaned out the window and said something about my parentage, he said something like this,”get out the road you stupid son of a (well use your imagination :-)), ain’t you ever seen a coneflower before?”……OK, that’s a lie and a what’s more it’s a falsehood fellow gardeners, he never said a word about coneflowers but he surely did call me a stupid son of a, well you know what he said and my wife said something too. She didn’t say anything about my parentage but she did “mention” to me that in the future if I saw some flower and it was love at first sight I might want to pull over first before I caused a major traffic jam on one of Buckhead’s main traffic arteries……:-) I took her advice to heart till I saw my first old fashioned ‘Sombreuil’ rose growing up a trellis on Habersham Road, by the time I had got enough of that heavenly vision growing in that unknown woman’s front yard (she was out in the yard deadheading it) I had traffic backed up all the way to Paces Ferry Road……:-)

OK enough of this, let me show why I love coneflowers, here is a represenative sample of some I’ve grown over the years. Some I’ve grown like gangbusters, healthy as horses and others, well they didn’t last as long as my first job finishing concrete in the hottest summer on record in Alabama, another words some of  my coneflowers did last even 3 months much less be what I’d call a perennial, come back year after year after year. But in the interest of full disclosure fellow gardeners, I’m getting better at growing them coneflowers, all kinds of varieties if I can just keep that nasty disease ‘Aster Yellows’ out of my garden. More on Aster Yellows on another post. But for right now just let me say having Aster Yellows is kinda like being pregnant, you can’t be just a little pregnant nor can you have a little case or a touch of Aster Yellows, either you got it or you ain’t…..Either you’re pregnant or you ain’t……:-) If you’re pregnant well it’s a happy occasion and you celebrate, what a wonderful thing the birth of a child that is going to be loved. But in the case of Aster Yellows? Well all you can do is pull up your infected plants cause ain’t nothing to be done about them. If you don’t you just increase the chances of your other coneflowers getting infected too and before you know it you’ll lose everyone you got. In my case I lost 97 one year. I’m still in mourning over that one. You can’t tell it readily, that I been mourning, but I been wearing “black” underwear since the 2007 growing season, nuff said…….:-)

Echinacea purpurea 'Sundown' a selection from Saul Brothers Nursery

Echinacea purpurea 'Kim's Knee High' A drift of about 5 plants with Russian Sage

Now one of my favorites of my favorites is Echinacea paradoxa, why paradox? Cause it’s yellow instead of purple I reckon, get it? A paradox, but I could be wrong fellow gardeners so don’t quote me on that, come to think of it, don’t quote me on anything……:-) Below is a picture of Echinacea paradoxa  if I can find one, if not I’ll steal, I mean borrow one……:-)

Echinacea paradoxa This plant is in my garden. 'Bright Lights' Cosmos is blooming in the backround.

OK, like the caption says, it’s in my garden. But one of my buddies took the picture and stole, I mean borrowed it from his facebook page. If I didn’t ask his permission I will as soon as he pays me back the $10 he owes me……:-)  Notice the reflexed petals, now fellow gardeners, if reflexed petals on a flower gets your heart to fluttering, well all I can say is, Echinacea paradoxa is for you, a marriage made in heaven. Lord I love this plant. It reminds me of those skirts, you know those Russian peasant skirts, the ones that look so good on my wife Linda. But don’t get the wrong idea, she’s not Russian, she’s a Tennesseean……:-)

Echinacea Purpurea 'Mango Meadowbrite" Lovely, lovely & lovely

Now ‘Mango Meadowbrite’ was introduced by the Chicago Botanic Garden in 2004. They’ve done a lot with coneflowers and did a whale of job with this one….Looks like the color of French’s Mustard but French’s Mustard only wishes she tasted as good as this coneflower looks in bloom. Here is photo I really did borrow. I ain’t going to make no money off it so I hope it’s alright. I will say up front, it ain’t mine, I ain’t that talented a photographer. If you see any pictures on the website blog that look like a real photographer took them, you can count on them NOT being ones I took……:-)

If the color and form of 'Mango Meadowbrite' don't move you, you're dead already.

I don’t mean it mean or anything, but like the above caption says fellow gardeners, if that particular coneflower don’t make you smile and be happy your alive to see it, well all I can say is, “check your pulse”…….:-)

yEchinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ One of the nicest white conies.

Now it you can grow this one from seed and it’ll come back true every time. Late in the evening around dusk this white coneflower will jump right out the ground and bite you the color is so vibrant late in the evening…and grown in drifts, say 5 to 7 plants to a drift, HEAVEN…..pure unadulterated HEAVEN………You see that vision some evening in your garden and whatever you see when you when you finally get to HEAVEN won’t be a big surprise to you, you’ll feel like you already seen it back on earth, right in your own backyard……:-)

A single flower of 'White Swan' echinacea purpurea, a little piece of HEAVEN.

Let me end this little story about coneflowers with a couple of pictures of drifts of coneflowers from my garden, the dates? Who knows, I never set the date and time on my camera, all my photos say the year 2050…….:-)

The photo I took above. You know the one with too much light, not enough contrast, wrong time of day, not clearly focused and kinda whack sided, you know one of my pictures, well this is what it is: ‘Mango Meadowbrite’, ‘Harvest Moon’, ‘After Midnight’ and ‘Sundown’, all new or newish cultivars of echinacea purpurea.   Enjoy it as much as you can but be forgiving to the photographer, he’s a good guy, just not a good photogragrapher……;-)

A drift of 'Kim's Knee High's', a dwarf version of echinacea purpurea and a great bloomer as you can see.

OK, that’s it fellow gardeners, I been adding text, new pictures, going out to water my containers, writing more text, new pictures, more watering containers and I’m ready for lunch fellow gardeners, I don’t know about you but I can smell and taste a homegrown tomato sandwich in my immediate future, just as soon as I post this never ending little story of mine about coneflowers. I hope you enjoy it. And I hope I enjoy them mater sandwiches I’m getting ready to gobble down…….Bye for now.
Paul From Alabama



2 responses

2 08 2011
Nell Jean

I feel about yellow coneflowers the same was as yellow watermelon: If the Lord meant for coneflowers to be yellow, they would all be yellow and Black eyed Susans would be pink/purple. You will have to forgive me. I am so fond of original and all these designer flowers are not for me. The species versions are usually the strongest growers, too. I still have a strong pulse to go with my strong notions.

2 08 2011

Miss Prissy, you are the most contrarian women I’ve ever had the good fortune of knowing since my first wife……:-) Now the echinacea paradoxa is a product of the Lord, if I ain’t mighty mistaken and as my granny always said, “Paul, your perfect”…..:-) It’s a native no joke Nell Jean. No bacteria cultures or hybrids or whatever, just from the out in Arkansas somewhere’s out in the wild from what I read about it. Now as far as ‘Mango Meadwobrite’, ‘Harvest Moon’ and ‘Sundown’ go, well if you don’t like them, you don’t have to grow them. But let’s just say that it tells me one thing about you young lady, you’re a communist…….:-)

OK, I know of what you speak as far as colored coneflowers go. I’m like you in one respect, I hate, I loathe them pom pom look a like ones, you know the ones called ‘Milkshake’ and ‘Soda Fountain’ or I don’t know what…..To quote a famous communist but I’m sure, loyal American woman I knew, ‘If the Lord had wanted coneflowers to be double deckers and other ones to look like snow cones he would have made some coneflowers into double decker sandwiches and other coneflowers into ice cream……:-) But no joke Nell Jean, I like the originals too and let me tell you why if I might. I mean I have the floor now, I mean the keyboard…..:-) I liked coneflowers from the get go, why? Cause of he reflexed petals, and what does man do in all his wisdom? Try to make them as horizontal as possible. Taking away one of the nicest aspects of echinacea purpurea. Now like you, I have a strong pulse to go with my strong notions but my wife Linda has cured me of that……:-) I think I like the species of echinacea purpurea the best too but let me wait and ask my wife when she gets home. She’s on a date now at the movies with this kid next door. He’s 10 years old and she’s, well she’s older than 10 I know….:-) They went to see “The Smurfs” and me? I stayed home watered the containers and wrote about coneflowers and then got criticized for it by one of my friends from southwest Georgia…….:-)
I’m coming to see you one of these days, just to see your beautiful garden and to aggravate you……:-)

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