17 May 2009

Jodi's Gotta-Have Plants, Part 3.5: The Coneflower Update



It's no secret that I am completely and utterly besotted with coneflowers of all colours, and that I've been collecting and growing them for the past few years. Pollinators love them, which is a main reason for my collecting so many, but also, they're just glorious plants. Now that spring is well underway, the coneflowers are up, (but aren't yet blooming; these are photos from previous years or, in the case of Tiki Torch and Katie Saul, nursery information) and I've been able to match them to their tags (which I anchored well into the ground in the case of some new ones) and I have some thoughts on a few of them. Plus, oh surprise surprise, a few of them have followed me home already.

To begin with, the pride of my collection, 'Green Envy', has sailed through its second winter and is up and looking decidedly vigourous. Last year, it really took hold and bloomed like gangbusters, and that just made me love it all the more. Not everyone is a fan of green flowers, but I certainly am.


So it's not surprising that I eagerly glommed onto Coconut Lime last year, even though it's a double (which isn't to everyone's tastes) and not AS green as 'Green Envy'. It's come through nicely too; it was a great performer last year, its first year in our garden.


I wrote earlier that I had this already, but on going out to inspect the garden and finding the list of coneflowers I did get, I realized that I didn't have 'Twilight.' Well, I do now. A trip to Rob Baldwin's nursery yesterday fixed that. Rob carries a lot of coneflowers, and planted his own dedicated bed of them last year, and we compared notes on growth and vigour. The plants in gallon pots that he wintered over have come back very vigourously, whereas when they came in last spring as tissue cultured babies, some of them were rather spleeny. But Rob is very good at nurturing plants, whether seedlings or cuttings or plugs brought in, and those he still has are doing fine.

However, we found (to his surprise but not mine) that we had the same mortalities. I was full of hope last year when I got 'Mango Meadowbrite' and 'Orange Meadowbrite' from Rob; by the time I got them they were good sized plants and I figured this time, THIS time, they'd come through the winter.

Nope. Neither one of them. But I took a bit of comfort that Rob's didn't either in his display bed, except for one. Unless they're pining for the fjords and just aren't awake yet. Mine, however, are definitely EX-Meadowbrites. And I shan't try them again. No slight on Chicago, where they were bred, but I think they don't have a taste for my cranky climate. Seems strange doesn't it, but that's the third time at least that I've lost both of them. So I surrender, and add the Meadowbrites to the list of plants that just don't love me.


On the other hand, Big Sky 'Sunrise' seems to love it in our garden. And it looks to me like 'Sunset' also sailed through, and 'Harvest Moon' as well. Others have had issues with the Big Sky series, but I think the fact that they're in my 'best drainage bed' has carried them through for me. I love them, so I was glad to see them, and more justified in adding 'Twilight' to the mix.


Heh! I'm not saying where I bought 'Tiki Torch', because there were only two at that particular nursery and the owner was keeping the other one. I know others in the province are carrying this as well, and I hope it's going to be a vigourous one; it comes via Terra Nova, who also were the first to give us (through one of their breeders) 'Coconut Lime', and so I'm optimistic.


Ahem. I did buy this last year, and I can't remember where the heck I planted it. Nor can I find its label. But 'Hope' is a breast cancer plant, so I decided it would be good to get another one just in case. Now, if there was just one to honour brain cancer patients...but I'm putting in a rose called 'My Hero' to honour those who have fought--and lost--to that terrible disease, too.


To round out the new arrivals--so far this year, anyway--here is Big Sky's 'Summer Sky', also known as Katie Saul. This is a two-toned coneflower, fragrant, and has been out for several years, but I finally got around to finding it and bringing it home. Somewhere, I read that partial shade will give it the best colour, which is not a problem because everywhere in my yard has a bit of shade at one point in the day or another. Some more than others.

That's it for now. I've not been out to a lot of nurseries yet, but have made it to some of my favourites: Ouestville Perennials, Bunchberry Nurseries, Baldwin's, Cosby's in Liverpool (no website yet), and Glad Gardens in Waterville (also no website). Hopefully soon we'll have a chance to head towards Truro to see some other favourites, as well as make a trip to those between Liverpool and West Pubnico that I didn't get to yet. And to Bayport. And and and...and NOT to places that sell goutweed! But that's a tantrum for another day.

26 comments:

  1. OOOOOOOOOh!, I love coneflowers. I planted a bunch last week and hope they will look grand like yours. It is funny how some coneflowers make it and others don't even if grown in the frigid winters of Chicago.

    I've been gone for a few days and my word the garden grew.

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  2. Wow, that 'Tiki Torch' is a beauty! I love coneflowers, but just have the standard, I definitely need to add some others.

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  3. Wow That Tiki Torch is just beautiful, I too love the cone flowers and funny how the mango meadowbrite was bred here in Chicago but they never came back for me either! Ha Ha...nor my neighbor who bought 4 of them, go figure?

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  4. Whoot! I looked in my catalog and the nursery I go to has the 'Green Envy' and a new 'Green Jewel' too.

    More on my list are the 'Big Sky' varieties - I tried some 'Twilight' last year and they seem to have done well so I think this year I'll go for all 5.

    As for the 'Tiki Torch' - no luck there but I do know where to get one. You better hope some of the other orange varieties come through for me.

    I can't have enough coneflowers. I'll pass on the doubles though - I like my coneflowers simple. No Razzmatazz for me please.

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  5. I like them all. I have Harvest Moon and Kim's Knee High that just survived their first winter in my front yard flower bed, along with a clump I moved from a different bed last year that was White Swan, but the flowers were no longer white. I have Magnus in the back yard.

    I've been trying to decide if I was going to keep collecting, or just enjoy what I have and if I need more, get an old fashioned kind.

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  6. I love echinacea too. But after trying and failing with several of the new cultivars, I'm sticking with the old tried-and-true original. I'll enjoy the other ones in your garden, Jodi, where they look quite happy to have ended up.

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  7. Hi,
    I purchased the sunrise echinacea for my balcony garden this summer. Hopefully, it won't be long before I can put it out and see some blooms. Cheers!

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  8. Wow, Jodi! Like WiseAcre, I don't do doubles, but I love your others, especially 'Green Envy' and 'Tiki Torch'. Gotta find them!

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  9. They all look great! Although I am very partial to the normal looking one's and not the doubles. I really like those big sky series coneflowers.

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  10. Great Variety of colors!!!

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  11. Hi Jodi, oh so wonderful are the coneflowers. But I too have had bad luck with some of the fancy ones, the Meadowbrites in particular. It is not poor drainage or low temps, for we have neither. I won't be trying them again. I have not been good with the tags and will have to wait and see what returned well, but there were two definite losses that did have the tags and were the big sky ones. I do hope Coconut lime makes it though, it was my fave.
    Frances

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  12. All your coneflowers are just beautiful, Jodi! They are my favorite flower, too, but so far I haven't gotten adventurous and tried any of the newer hybrids. I have so many seedlings this spring from the common purple ones, that I could almost devote a whole new flowerbed just to them. Hmmm, that's a thought for next year...

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  13. Oh, my goodness! Stunners, all! You yard must stop traffic, Jodi. Wow!

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  14. The coneflowers give so much don't they? I have never loved the white one before seeing it en masse in a planting but the sky series are beautiful for their streaked petals. Now I will have to go out and buy some more coneflowers of course.

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  15. I only I the purple ones. Will be doing something about that now. I found you by way of blotanical.

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  16. I saw one of those orange ones the other day at the nursery. I almost succumbed to the urge to purchase. Not enough sun here for a good stand of them. Sigh~~

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  17. jodi these are such a beautiful flowers, and I don't mind green ones also, something different for change. Anna :)

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  18. Jodi, They are lovely and very tempting! But truthfully, I haven't any more space! LOL! Would you be interested in Tennessee Coneflower seeds? I will collect them this year and be glad to send them your way.

    Gail

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  19. I half expected to see "Hot Papaya" and/or "Tomato Soup" in your garden, jodi. :) Have you seen them anywhere locally? Like most things, they'll likely be a while finding their way to our area. The ones you have are gorgeous!

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  20. This is a great overview/review. Very nice photos also. Some of these are new to me. Now, to choose one...

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  21. Ooooh! shiny coneflowers! I've got to get some new ones this year, before the budleia take over again. :)

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  22. Well, of course now I'm going to have to add a couple more to my wishlist but I'm over the moon to report that we have finally acquired a few Green Envys! They're big beauties so I'm hoping for a good show this year. I have you to thank/blame for getting me started on this somewhat obsessive quest. What will I search for next?

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  23. These are just beautiful coneflowers, Jodi. I'm already a coneflower fan (should you call me a cone-head?) but you just fanned my flames even more. I had, and lost, a lovely orangey cultivar last year. My own fault. My eyes are always too big for my garden. In the front garden, where I have more space, dry shade is my coneflowers' undoing.

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  24. you do well with remembering all the names, do you write them down? I tried being organised and having a garden diary but its now as neglected as the actuall garden...the coneflowers I planted last year don't seem to have come back up. I've next week off work so maybe some order will be restored!

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  25. I feel the same way about oriental lilies that you do about coneflowers. It is amazing how many different colors and forms coneflowers have now. I never thought about any but the regular purplish ones until recently.

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  26. Oh, these are lovely! Thank you for reminding me I really want to put some in this year! Fantastic post!

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