Sunday, June 26, 2011

Echanaceas in our Yard

I have been doing some stewing about what's going on with my coneflowers.   I went around and took photos of all of them, and after doing some thinking, have come to some conclusions about my dilemma.

When we first moved here 13 years ago, a neighbor lady gave me a start to the honeysuckle vine that is behind this coneflower, and some purple coneflower.  At some point I forgot that she told me not to plant other kinds, because they would cross pollinate, and then we could lose the native ones. I'm thinking that I thought it would be OK to plant the 'White Swan' in front, since I put the ones she gave me in the back yard.  Those are gone now, I'm sad to say.  At some point, the white one quit blooming white.  When we put in the east front bed, I moved some of this over there.

I planted 'Kim's Knee High' next to the ones I moved, and the native thinner leafed kind in front of them.  In the back of this bed, I planted 'Harvest Moon'.  I'm not sure if the original plants are still there. I had lots of seedlings last year, and they are now blooming.  This photo shows the front of the bed.

It looks like there is some 'Harvest Moon' in this plant.

 This is close to where the original plant was.

The bright colored bloom reminds me of 'Kim's Knee High'. 

There is also a white bloom in there!

I like the shape of this one.

I don't like this one as well.  Its stem is thick, and the cone is larger.  I will take it off so its seeds don't get planted.

This is the back of the bed where 'Harvest Moon' was planted.  The original plant is gone, and a little way over is a new clump.

There are lots of buds, but just a few opening so far.  This does not look yellow, like 'Harvest Moon'.

There are pink and white ones now.  I should check to see how many plants are in this clump.

When I started planting the new area on the west side of the front yard, I moved a couple small plants from the front of the east bed.  They did well, and are starting to bloom.  It looks like this one is pink.


This one is right next to the pink one, and as you can see, it is white.

When we expanded the curb bed to the west in 2009, I got 2 'Prairie Splendor' echinaceas thinking they were an older variety. 

The plants are loaded with blooms, and looking quite healthy, except for a few odd looking blooms.

I've been looking online, trying to figure out it this is aster yellows.  From what I've read, the leaves should look abnormal, too, but they don't.  I need to get these cut off, though.  Have you had any flowers look like this?  I guess I did have some last year in the east bed, too, and tried to figure out then what was going on.  They looked fine other than a few like that, too.

I planted these two plants in 2009, also.  They are east of the previous ones, and may be 'Magnus'.

Continuing east, up to the sidewalk, this is a volunteer I've shown before. 

I have a yellow and white flower scheme with some red leaved plants in the small area in front of the vegetable garden.  I think these are 'White Swan'.

The 'Magnus' I planted in the back yard are not blooming yet.

These may be 'Ruby Star' that I planted in the flower bed across the street a year or two ago.  They look to be struggling a bit.

I planted 3 small Echinacea purpureas in the new growing area.  I've decided that I am not going to plant any more hybrid echinaceas.  I am planning on keeping an eye on any new plants that come up, and keep the ones that look more like the native ones, and maybe deadhead the ones that I don't want to reseed.  I may even pull a few plants out if they are crowded.  So, it looks like I'll have my own "hybrids". 

I know there are gardeners out there who love the new hybrids, and my aim isn't to say folks shouldn't plant them.  We have to do what works in our own gardens.  There are those who do not like them, saying they aren't as hearty, and the pollinators do not like them as well.  I saw bees and butterflies on all of the coneflowers the last few years, and couldn't tell if they had a preference.   You may share your experiences or thoughts on these matters if you like.  I just don't want a heated debate.

Our land phone line and internet were down most of the day.  I went to a bookstore to use their internet to work on this post because the cable company said they weren't going to be able to come work on the phone and internet until Tuesday.  When I got home, Larry said the internet is back up, so now, I am finishing up.

We are having both sides of our family come over for the fourth.  I need to clean and organize the toy room.  That's where the internet connection is, too, so I need to free up space for a cable person to work if they end up coming over.  I hope to make it your way to see what is going on in your garden this week, too.  Have a great week!


  1. Love the coneflowers-all yours look so healthy. I've had wonderful luck with my "Bravado" and "White Swan". Not very good luck with Razzmatazz-which is my favorite, but not very reliable.

  2. My echinaceas have just about disappeared. I have maybe three plants this year. I do hope they reseed for me.

    I don't buy the new hybrids either because I know they cross readily. You may get to enjoy them a few years looking like the original, but they are so costly, I just don't bother. All mine came from seeds I planted several years ago.

    My salvia farinacea do the same, cross with other varieties.

    I plan to buy new seeds of both this year and try to get them started again.

    Regarding your strange looking echinaceas, I don't really know but a virus comes to mind or....maybe some of the hybrids self seeded and it is a sport of some kind. Hybrid seeds will take after one or the other of the parents, or cross with another one and you end up with something entirely new. I would suggest you pull this plant up and dispose of it....not in your compost just in case it is a disease.

  3. You have so many different varieties...they are all lovely.

  4. I would love to have a variety of coneflowers. I've thought about ordering several different kinds, but my old purples have all just about disappeared - I'm not sure why, since rudbeckia has always done well and lived long, and my stokesia and other perennials. I tried White Swan years ago, and it died out after two uneventful seasons. You're making me want to try again.

  5. Coneflowers are puzzling, aren't they? Mine are just starting to bloom - I think they are needing more sun. I have had a white one that stands in the midst of my purples. At one time, I had an orange one, but no longer :(. I want to get some of the really dark pink/purple ones - mine seems to bleach out as Summer goes on. My Coneflowers are the one plant that I never cut back until they are picked clean or broken over. The Goldfinches and Chickadees love them.

    That does look like aster yellows. I've had it on mine in the past, and as soon as I see a plant that looks like it has it, I dig it out and put it in the garbage - I don't think I would compost it. Some of mine got the flowers, but they had some green poking out along with the orange in the center, and some had bleached out looking foliage. Seems like last week, they addressed that problem on Backyard Farmer - you might want to check the website and watch the playback of it.

    Everything looks so pretty! Last night, I had standing water in my flower beds, so I don't know what that will do to them. Sounds like you have a busy week ahead of you! Have a fun and safe 4th.

  6. Uh-oh...I'm almost sure those odd-looking ones have Aster might want to pull them and trash them to be safe...if they are infected, it can spread via leafhoppers to your other coneflowers...better safe than sorry :-(

  7. Hi Sue, Beautiful flowers! I planted a reddish echinacea last year, but I don't see it yet this year. I hope it comes back, it was rather stunning.
    PS We installed a green roof in Iowa... "Vegetative mats" that we grow that have 8-10 varieties of low growing sedum on them. We roll it like sod!

  8. Thanks for your comment, Sue. If you have the room, I'd really recommend you try a peony. They don't flower for very long, but the folliage is nice afterward!

  9. Sometimes I think breeders are so quick to get their product to market that they don't take the proper amount of time make sure it's going to stay true. Yours could be a case of inbreeding. I think it's probably a good idea to not allow the hybrids to go to seed. Those are some strange looking flowers but mostly you've got gorgeous ones. My Echinaceas aren't blooming yet so I'm a tiny bit jealous. :)

  10. I only have 3, Magnus, White Swan & Sundown. I've heard they can cross polinate too, but never had it happen.

  11. You are an amazing gardener, Sue!

  12. Your echinaceas look wonderful. They *should* grow here too, but I haven't had much luck with them. I think my soil is still too clay-ey for them. I'll keep working on it though :-)


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