Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I'm a Conehead!

I'd heard of echinacea as a means to improve your immune system, and I knew it was an herb or plant of some sort, but never bothered to investigate. Then I invited my friend Bonnie to go with me on a bus tour to Chicago Botanic Gardens, back in the summer of 2004.

I didn't know a whole lot about flowers at that time, and Bonnie shared her knowledge as we walked through the gardens.
We came to a purple coneflower, which I learned was the same thing as echinacea, and she said, "Touch it." It looked really soft in the middle, but I was surprised at how firm it was! It felt like plastic. Cool.

We took the little tour that was offered and the docent drove us through all parts of the gardens and told us interesting tidbits of information about the gardens, the flowers growing there, and the ongoing plant research conducted in the gardens. I remember being told that an orange coneflower was in production and that it had never been grown anywhere else. It was to be called 'Orange Meadowbrite' and would be the first in a series of Meadowbrite echinaceas that would be developed at CBG.

I now have this coneflower as well as 'Mango Meadowbrite' in my garden and they're among my favorites. I've got several other echinaceas and I've always got my eyes open for possible new additions for the garden.

'Orange Meadowbrite™'

'Mango Meadowbrite™'


'Harvest Moon'

'White Swan'

A portion of the sale of this echinacea goes to the
Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research.


'Sunset' or 'Sundown'
I have these labeled correctly in my garden, but failed to take note of which I'd photographed in what order. They very similar and I can't tell the difference between them.

'Summer Sky'

Tennessee Coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis)

I have native coneflowers, as well as 'Magnus' and 'Sparkler.' The latter has variegated foliage and I found that it doesn't tolerate full sun as well. I've got it placed in part shade now and it's doing much better.


There's space reserved for 'Green Envy' whenever I manage to find it in one of our local garden centers.

TRIVIA: The word "echinacea" comes from the Greek word "echinos," which means "hedgehog," and refers to the flower's spiky central cone.


Rosengeranium said...

Lovely flowers as well as lovely photos!

Muum said...

I am just planting two, a White Swan and a lavendar purpley one, they should be just right for my hot, dry garden.

Unknown said...

I had plain old purple coneflowers, grown from seed, at the old house in my herb garden. At this one, I just have 'White Swan' and I'm always amazed at how elegant and pretty it is. It's in part sun only and seems to be just fine with that.

You have an amazing variety of echinacea flowers there, Kylee. I'm amazed. (And if it makes you feel better, I haven't seen any 'Green Envy' around here, either.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kylee,
What an interesting and lovely bright and colourful post.
Sara from farmingfriends

Bob said...

I guess I'm becoming a conehead too. I have a few echinacea and planned on getting more. Especially the newer hybrids. They are amazing. Will surely look for "Hope" it's a real beauty and I love that it also raises money for a great cause. I plan on posting on my echinacea soon.
All the best, BOB

Annie in Austin said...

Ads for cultivars like 'Mango' didn't get my pulse racing, Kylee - but your lovely photos of paler yellows like 'Harvest Moon' and 'Sunrise' are tempting!

I have a few different pinky-purply ones, and a couple of 'White Star' - it wouldn't seem like a summer garden without a few coneflowers.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Annie in Austin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alyssa said...

Fantastic post. I've been eyeing all the new varieties of coneflower and your pictures will help me make up my mind. They are such a pleasing flower to look at. I just love them.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

What a lovely collection of coneflowers you have Kylee, quite impressive. I bought some coneflowers this year too, one of which is White Swan. I'm not keen on orange as a rule but I make an exception for both Orange Meadowbrite and Mango Meadowbrite, both are lovely.

I know a bit of homeopathy and was aware of the fact that the coneflower is echinacea with its lovely health improving qualities. That is the main reason why I bought mine, that and the fact that they look good! ;-)

Sisah said...

Whow, I did not know there are so many different cultivars of coneflowers. I have only two very ordinary ones in white and purple, I wonder if there are nurseries at all in Germany that might sell those you are showing us here!
"Hope" is my favorite, I´ll have to have a look where to get it!

Kylee Baumle said...

'Hope' is really lovely, and not as tall as the others. I love its shorter petals - I think they stay nicer longer than the others.

'White Swan' is a strong grower and floriferous. All of them are fairly easy to grow from seed. I sprinkle a little seed around the base towards the end of summer so I'll have new plants the following spring, too. Direct wintersowing. ;-)

Connie said...

Great photos of a great flower! ...from a fellow "Conehead". :-)

Unknown said...

Excellent post, Kylee. You have several cultivars I haven't been able to get (Twilight and Hope) and also two that I had no success with: the Meadowbrites. I'm wondering if perhaps our winter last year was too topsy turvy for them; probably in Chicago winter gets cold and stays cold where here we didn't have any lasting, consistent winter-weather until mid-January. I've not seen either Meadowbright offered this year anywhere I've been, so perhaps others in NS found the Big Sky series hardier.
Terra Nova Nurseries has an orange one called Tiki Torch that I hope to see here next year.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kylee.I too love coneflowers. I have all but 3 of yours. I just came upon Spring Hill Nurseries catalog and they have Green Envy for sale.This nursery also has 2 other new types of coneflowers. Their names are Coconut Lime and Pink Double Delight. They resemble the Razzmatazz coneflower, pompon top sitting on a skirt of petals below. Beautiful!!!
I have never seen the "Hope" before. I have a friend that has just gone through surgery for breast cancer, I will definitly have to get it for her. Thank you for sharing your flowers with all of us.

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