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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Echinacea purpurea

I was recently lamenting to a friend about the lack of Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) in my garden.  I was all set to purchase some at a recent plant sale, but they only had some cultivars of Echinacea that were white, and I really wanted the straight species Purple Coneflower.  I think it's beautiful on it's own right, and does not need to be cultivated into crazy colors and shapes! At any rate, two days later, I was walking through a meadow, and what did I find but a wonderful clump of Echinacea.

These plants are touted by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation as attracting the largest number of native bees.  There is nothing not to love about these plants: they are a great purple color which varies with the amount of light they receive and the type of soil they live in, the flowers are long lasting, they make great cut flowers, they tend to compete well in your garden, they are beneficial to native pollinators and attract HUMMINGBIRDS, and if you are really good, you can make tea out of them. Have you heard anything that you don't like? Did I mention that they are fairly hardy as well? 

I took a closer look at the clump that I had come across in the field and noticed some activity at work on the plant.  Can you find the "bug" in my picture and can you identify it? 

Now that I've talked up Echinacea I really want some for my garden.  I will attempt to sneak some in when my husband is not looking as I have been put on a recent "plant ban." More to follow about that later.....

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