My new red coneflower August 5, 2012Posted by Jenny in gardening, home, nature.
Tags: red bee balm, red coneflower, red echinacea
It was an impulse buy at the plant nursery. I’m not usually into strange hybrids—I’d rather have plants that are close to what you see in the wild. But this was just too interesting to pass up.
The photo shows the blooms in different stages of their progression. What’s really strange is how the blossom not only changes color but changes texture into this oddball fluffy concoction. I must say, it looks a bit foofy—what I would call a “poodle plant,” like double peonies or double clematis, all ruffly and complicated. To some gardeners, this is the height of desirability. Like I said, not really my style, but I had to admire its weirdness.
I see from a little googling that several red echinacea hybrids are on the market now. We have gone from the purple coneflower, which is a genuine prairie plant, to white coneflower, and now to red. The coneflower has always had the tendency to morph through darker shades of color as the blooms mature. This hybrid takes that tendency and goes to town with it.
You can see from the photos that I am a “shaggy” gardener, or whatever the opposite of “manicured” is. My coneflowers are growing out of the middle of a patch of wild violets, which many people would consider to be weeds and pull up by the roots.
But it is wonderful to stroll outside after a refreshing rainshower and see what the garden is doing. My red bee balm has come and almost gone, so it is nice to have something else red in the garden. The bee balm is my hummingbird plant, and the resident hummingbird is still hanging around. The coneflower doesn’t have the tubular shape the hummingbird prefers, but hummingbirds do love red flowers.