Plant of the Month
August 8, 2020 by James Cooper
This month we have been inspired by the hot weather to champion a stalwart of the prairie style planting, a style which conjures up images of endless North American landscapes. As well as soft waving grsses, a good prairie planting scheme needs tall perennials and the best one of all is the Echinacea purpurea or the coneflower
Echinaceas are tolerant of most soil types and prefer a sunny spot, although they will accept dappled shade. The long lived flower heads are held on strong stems which shouldn’t need staking making them a good low maintenance choice. Echinaceas are particularly attractive to pollinating insects as well as birds which will love the seeds later in the year.
Historically, Echinaceas have formed the backbone to the alternative medicine trade and are widely accepted to stimulate the body’s immune system to fight infections.
To get a simple prairie style feel to borders we like to team the Echinacea with Calamagrostis x acutifoilia, Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ and Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’
When late summer blooms of the purple coneflower begin to look tired or ragged, cut the plant back by a third. This rejuvenates the plant and often produces a new display of beautiful blooms that last until the frosts come. Coneflower care is as simple as that, and the plants will reward you with abundant flowering each and every year after.
It’s time to have a piece of North America in your garden…