One of the things that happens when you aren't meticulous with labelling, mapping, or even keeping track of where you bought or were given plants is that you then don't remember what you planted where. Even when labels are put in the ground, they can arbitrarily leap out during a winter frost-heaving festival. So you wait until the plant blooms and then hope to be definitive about which variety is where. I'm still waiting on a few late-comers to start blooming, but I've pretty much gotten the rest figured out.
Like the one above. Initially I thought it was 'Sundown', but now I'm sure it's 'Summer Sky', because it's taller at 40+ inches, starts to show the ring of purple with outer, orangy colouring on the petal tips fairly promptly after the petals open. Add to that the dark stems and it seems a match for 'Summer Sky'. 'Sundown' is a little shorter and doesn't show purple colouring; unless this is actually the no-longer available 'Sunset'? Oh me aching head!
Not everyone likes the double-flowered echinaceas, but as I've remarked before, I'm very fond of them. I especially like the way they change colour as the flowers open and mature. This is one of the 'Secret' series that Terra Nova carries, 'Secret Passion.' The flower gradually deepens to a rich deep rosy pink cone and orange-pink petals. It's pretty cool, and seems very vigourous. This is its first year in my garden.
I wonder who comes up with names like this compact variety sports: 'Pow Wow Wild Berry' is doing splendidly from having been planted as a seed back in the spring. It's a good front-of-border plant and seems destined to be popular, providing its vigour includes good winter hardiness. Ask me next spring.
My gardens are a little slower than those of many people, because it's cooler here on the hill, and I do have some shade. A few varieties are later in blooming, whether because they'll always be later blooming or because this is their second year and they're in 'creep mode', I don't know. 'Mac n Cheese' is just getting going.
Not everyone is excited by white coneflowers, but I like them because they're crisply cool and a nice contrast to their more hot-coloured counterparts. This is 'Jade', developed by Piet Oudolf, and doing very well in its third season in my garden.
You didn't think I'd let this post go through without showing off 'Hot Papaya' again, did you? Of course not, even if I did just do a post the other day about this beauty. It get more interesting with each passing day, I swear. The only thing I've decided is that I should move it to another spot where it will get more attention; it's shorter than some of its relatives, at least this year, although it's supposed to grow 30-36 inches. I'm going to mark it carefully and watch it, and see what it does next year.
Another double, 'Coconut Lime' is pretty cool in my books. 'Meringue' is somewhat similar but has a more yellowy cast to the central cone. Or at least it does in my garden.
'Harvest Moon' has been around for a few years now and once established, shows itself to be a fine plant, with a different colour than other yellow or orange varieties. Its petals flex backward as it matures, which some don't like, but which is part of its breeding.
Another Piet Oudolf introduction, 'Green Jewel' is for those of us who enjoy green flowers. You can count me in that category.
'Green Eyes' looks like an 'ordinary' purple coneflower (if there is such a thing' except for the green 'eye' in the central cone. The flowers are a rich dark magenta, not really showing off their charms in this sun-lit photo.
Since it came out a few years ago, 'Green Envy' has held me in its thrall. It's a later-blooming one, just getting going nicely in my garden, but it also blooms well into October. I've been extremely satisfied with this plant and recommend it highly to those with a yen for green flowers.
'Tangerine Dream' is one of the really, REALLY orange-flowered varieties. It is said not to fade its colour as the flowers age, and so far I have certainly found that to be true. It has big flowers with wide petals, and a nice honey scent. Definitely in my top five.
'Hope' is unusual for its soft pink colour, its big flowers with big central button-like cones, and its nice fragrance. It's also later blooming in my garden, just getting around to extending its petals and showing its colour now. But it's worth waiting for.
'FlameThrower' is another of the orange varieties, this one with a darker ring of orange near the cone. So far mine has only produced one flower because this is its first year and I was brave, and cut off all the original stems that were going to bloom, so that it would put its growth into foliage instead.
Coneflowers look spectacular when they are in a mass planting, such as this one. I hasten to add, this isn't in my garden, but in a fabulous garden up near Truro. I hope to do a post on this garden sometime soon.
Is it 'Razzamatazz'? Is it 'Pink Double Delight'? I don't know. I have had both, and somehow planted them near to one another, but another PDD is about to bloom in another part of the garden. So I'll do a compare and contrast and we'll see what we have.
'Tiki Torch' is doing spectacularly for my friend Rob Baldwin, who has some fine plants in the display beds at his nursery. Here, it's a little slow developing, but it's only in its second year and I don't like to rush perennials. The good thing about having such a variety of them is that there's always something going on with them.
Another of the 'Big Sky' series, this is 'Sunrise', which for some people gets quite pale as the flowers age, and for others seems to hold its colour nicely. In my garden, it's preparing to bloom, trailing along with the likes of 'Tomato Soup', 'Mac n Cheese', and 'Twilight'. I also have 'Ruby Star', 'Magnus', and a host of seedlings that could be from 'Magnus' and might be from others, but I won't post them here. They're splendid and wonderful, don't get me wrong--my only wish is that they came a little earlier in my garden season. Because with them coming on in August, I get that sinking feeling that comes with knowing that summer is on the downward slide. On the other hand, they give me weeks and weeks and weeks of delight, so that is a very good thing.