Thursday, May 8, 2008

Echinacea purpurea and related cultivars

I was digging through my photos trying to help my coworker put together the graphics for our latest mailer at work and I rediscovered these great shots of Echinacea from Garden in the Woods and Nasami Farm, both operated by The New England Wild Flower Society. Thought I would share them for a nice little visual on this gray Thursday. Above is the straight species Echinacea purpurea, commonly called purple cone flower. Echinacea is a native perennial plant here in the northeast, hardy in USDA Zones 3-9, and can grow to 4-5' tall and 18-20" wide. It flowers mid-summer and the blossoms can often last well into September or early October. It does best in full sun, and once established is marginally drought tolerant. A rich soil heavy in organics will produce the most robust plants, but I have seen them adapt to less ideal conditions as well.
Then there are a lot of great new cultivars that growers are developing. Many still need to be tested for years to make sure they hold up as well as the original, in terms of size, durability, winter hardiness, etc. Above is an Echinacea called 'Sunrise' and below a beautiful reddish orange 'Sundown'.
If you are a member and/or are on the HSNY mailing list then you should have received the latest programming mailer, the graphic of which was derived from the photograph above. If you are not a member, please visit the HSNY website and sign up as an HSNY member today!

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