Gotta love the coneflowers!

One of the first flowering plants I added to my garden was Purple Coneflower, echinacea purpea. Not that I knew anything about it when I chose it, but I just liked the look of it.


It was a good choice because besides having great looking flowers, the plants are sturdy, fairly drought tolerant, have very long-lasting flowers, bloom for a very long time, attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, reseed, and feed the birds in the winter.


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It's a native plant that is also used as a dietary supplement with reported medicinal properties, although there is some debate on its effectiveness.


Even so, what more could you ask for from a perennial?


I love plants that the pollinators like (with a few exceptions), and the bees sure love these!


I called them "Purple" coneflowers, but that's not very accurate anymore as they're now available in all sorts of colors such as orange, red, yellow, pink, and more. There is a profusion of new varieties that have become available over the last few years.


I don't have any of the newer ones yet, although I'm considering picking up a few this year. This one is an older cultivar called "White Swan":


The beetles have done some damage to it, but I really like it. Coloring like a daisy, but different. It's quite fragrant too.

I also have these all-green weirdos that appeared a couple of years ago, apparently from seed:


If you like green, these might be the coneflowers for you. Actually, taking a closer look at the petals you can see a touch of color there:


I'd still consider these to be all-green. They're strange ones, that's for sure. I should collect some seed this year and see if their offspring have the same green tendencies.

The only drawback to these plants is that rabbits and/or deer love them. I've got a few lone survivors in a couple of places in the yard, but the only place where they still thrive is up in the big triangle box where the critters can't get to them.

I'll have to keep that in mind when shopping for the expensive new varieties later this summer. Nothing worse than having a pricey prized plant chewed to the ground, so these can only go where the herbivores can't reach them -- at least in my garden.

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