Search May Dreams Gardens

Loading...

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Behold, The Coneflower

Behold, the coneflower.

Echinacea purpurea.

Is there any better flower for a hot summer day?  And by hot, we mean temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit day after day with nary a drop of rain.

The weather forecasters call it "extreme heat".  It's miserable for everyone and I refuse to give in to it, though I have renamed summer "simmer" because you can almost keep a pot of boiling water simmering if you take it outside.   

Plus when I say "how's your simmer going" people will think either I don't know how to pronounce summer or I have some odd accent. If they think I have some odd accent then they will listen to me talk and wonder where I am from. If they think I mispronounced summer, they'll be listening only to figure out when they can interrupt me to correct me.  In both situations, they won't remember a thing I say, so I can say pretty much say anything.

Goodness. I think the heat is getting to me. I'm starting to sound like I have the logic of a garden fairy and I've gone completely off track.  Where were we?

Oh, yes, behold the coneflower, Echinacea purpurea.

In its native form, the coneflower does quite well in the simmer-time.  I can't say the same about the fancy varieties that have been flooding the garden centers in recent years. I don't grow many of them, though I do hear some good things about the variety 'Hot Papaya'. I have also heard if you don't let them flower the first year you plant them, the fancy variety coneflowers will do better in later years, as in actually survive and return after the winter.

Winter? Did I just write winter?  I'm not exactly looking forward to winter but I do hope for a slow, wet, cool, rainy fall. Something English like would be nice.  Hey, a gardener can dream, can't she?


21 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Everyone in this area is having the same dream.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Oh, yes, that heat does tend to cook the little grey cells. I swear I'd rather be in January with 2 feet of snow and -5F. I'd probably be spending more time outside. Thank goodness for coneflowers.

Diana said...

Love those coneflowers. I'm dreaming of a nice English fall, too. Or summer, aplenty they are in for a long wet spell now -- maybe into the Olympics. But they'll have happy gardens!

Robin Ripley said...

The cone flowers are the most hearty and reliable flowers in my garden. The seem to thrive in the heat. Love them.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Simmer or boiling point, I don't know. It's so hot here you could fry an egg on the pavement, but it's nothing like the summer of 2011 in Oklahoma. We are actually supposed to cool down next week.~~Dee

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Simmer or boiling point, I don't know. It's so hot here you could fry an egg on the pavement, but it's nothing like the summer of 2011 in Oklahoma. We are actually supposed to cool down next week.~~Dee

vic said...

It's useful to know about not allowing those new echinacea varieties to bloom the first year. I always drool over them when I see them in the catalogs or nursery but end up passing them by since as hybrids I assume that they don't come back true from reseeding. I like big drifts of things like that and can't afford the numbers needed to produce a drift. Some really nice colors there though.

I keep hearing about a cool down coming but it always seems that just as it's supposed to arrive it get pushed down the road another few days.

Too long without rain and the heat is just about unbearable. How did people survive without air condiitioning?

Anonymous said...

I like the old-fashioned coneflower as you depicted it. The new ones are tempting, but I heard they are not as beneficial to wildlife as the original, true natives are. Can't remember where I heard that, but it was something I had been wondering about. On the good news side, my veggie garden has been remarkably free of insect pests this year (so far). I had thought that the mild winter would have permitted more survival of the pests, so I'm feeling lucky.

Leslie said...

I have been on the look out for plain old Echinacea purpurea...hard to find around here...

Fairegarden said...

Nothing better for summer color, drought and heat tolerant and pollinator loving than the Echinaceas, old school. If you can't find them, buy a pack of seeds, they are easy to germinate outside. Happy simmer!

RobinL said...

I think we agree here, the best coneflowers are the originals. I've tried many varieties, but mostly, I count on the basic purple coneflower. Although I have to admit that the coconut lime variety has returned for me for three or four years running, so don't be afraid to try that one.

Indie said...

I tried a new Pow wow white variety recently and wasn't impressed - maybe not letting it flower would have helped. Nothing like tough original natives!

GirlSprout said...

I grow the white swan variety, but they seem to like dappled light here in Santa Fe and are not as drought tolerant as in other places.

Heidi/IN WoodlandGardener said...

I have a new favorite flower---the purple coneflower!! Not only are they surviving this IN heat and drought, but they are thriving in my garden bed! Thanks for the heads-up on the cultivars. I think I'll stick to the species while we are in this weather cycle.

Commonweeder said...

I'm not dreaming about anything but more rain, preferably at night, preferably gentle. And no rabbits. My coneflowers will bloom soon. They don't seem to mind this dry period.

Cindy, MCOK said...

You might as well live in Texas with weather like that! I hope the heat breaks soon.

Sharon@SproutsandWildlings said...

Good to know there's some additional risk in the new varieties. In general, I go for the tried and true and have not yet attempted the new ones, but the idea of a rose-scented purple coneflower is probably just too alluring not to draw me in eventually.

Rose said...

I second your motion on coneflowers as one of the best plants ever; anything that can survive this heat and drought is a gold-medal winner for me. Carol, you crack me up--your logic about using "simmer" in conversation actually makes sense to me:)

Hope the weather turned cooler for you yesterday as it did for us, and that you also got a nice rainshower as we did.

Garden Lily said...

I love the look of coneflowers, and that they are sturdy enough not to require support/staking. In the PNW, we are finally getting our first real stretch of anything resembling summer weather, so I'm glad you're finally sharing some sun & heat with us. :-)

Diane@sunsaves.com said...

First time viewer here. I came for gardening tips and got the bonus of a new word. It's simmer time from now on!

jennifer said...

This plant is on my garden wish list for next year. Can't wait to try it out. Thanks for your insight on the new vs. older variety.