Thursday, July 16, 2009

Garden Crush - Echinacea

Whether you call them Echinacea or Coneflower, they're quite possibly the most beautiful and diverse of the Wildflowers naturalized in cottage gardens throughout the world. Above, a new variety (tomato soup), came to live in our garden just yesterday. With so many beautiful colors and diverse pairings, Coneflower has me quite giddy, crushing like a little school girl.

When I first started gardening I knew very little about plants. Coming from zone 1,000 in the hot and arid climate of West Texas, I didn't think you could grow much of anything for an extended period of time, and cottage style gardens were no where to be seen. After moving to NY, I got my first dose of cottage style gardens at the Buffalo Garden Walk. I've gravitated toward them ever since. Here, you see purple coneflower, the most commonly used for their herbal qualities as an immune booster paired with white coneflower and yarrow.

The flower itself is stunning, but it's ability to survive the harsh winters of the north east, it's fast and vigorous growth habit, and the ability to pair it with almost any sun-loving plant makes coneflower (echinacea) my official garden crush for 2009. Above, purple coneflower mixed with russian sage make for a beautiful display of color.
More than 30 varieties of Coneflower exist, in colors both muted and vibrant, variegated and solid. This year my gardening pal at the office purchased the tiki torch variety below:

It's beautiful bright orange feathery petals and bronze seed pod make for a wonderful addition to her garden, and I'm coveting. Finding it has proved difficult. Imagine this next to pink speedwell, or purple and white liatris. *swoon*
The double blooming and flowering seed pod coneflower are among the more expensive, but certainly have a beauty and interest that few other flowers can compete with.
This "Coconut Lime" coneflower was the "new" guy last year, and my gardening pal at the office says that hers came back beautifully, sporting over 3 dozen heads. One of my favorites, I have my eye out for this one, too!

Here, the pink variety harkin back to that very popular color trend of purple, pink, orange and turquoise you saw in almost every little girls bedroom or bathroom in 2004. I wonder where they got their idea? Perhaps this beautiful field or one just like it.

Another variety that joined the Garden de la Vanderdogan yesterday is this double decker echinacea. Not only do you have the beautiful flower of the echinacea in the early summer, the seed pod sends up another flower in the mid-summer that lasts til the late fall. Gorgeous.
So, as much as I know I should move onto interior design projects and crafty creations to share with all of you, the garden has me hypnotized for the moment. Please, forgive me, and by all means, stop and smell the roses.