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My new red coneflower August 5, 2012

Posted by Jenny in gardening, home, nature.
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It starts out blooming orange, then turns reddish-orange, then goes solid red and weirdly fluffy. This is the middle stage.

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 blossom at the top is the one furthest along.

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.

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Comments»

1. kaslkaos - August 8, 2012

I too admire it’s weirdness. Cool! I actually like ostentatious plants, but have the same ‘messy’ gardening ideas. Trust me, the hummingbirds and other wild things don’t care too much about pedigree or heritage. If it provides shelter, food, or nesting materials, they like it. As long as it’s not an invasive species, enjoy those ‘poodle’ plants (I LOVE that term). I’m kind of envious of your red coneflower, now, weirdness +

Jenny - August 8, 2012

That’s a good point about the birds and butterflies not distinguishing between the wild plants and the exotic hybrids! I do wonder, though, if a bee that found its way into the center of a big ruffly peony might not be able to find its way back out…


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