PURPLE CONEFLOWER

Over the years, I’ve tried several times to grow Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) and have not found it as easy as the seed catalogs claim. That’s Car Dealer Syndrome for you – make wild claims that can’t possibly be fulfilled if it will make a sale.

a really big bug – about 1-1/2 inches

In 2011, I planted numerous packages of seed, either Burpee or Ferry-Morse, all in one round clay pot. I got one plant to live which died back over the winter as perennials tend to do.

In 2012, it came back as an unbelievably huge plant. I wish I had photographed it. I separated it into four plants and, for some reason that escapes me now, planted two on either side of the pot. I’m embarrassed to admit to such a landscaping design as it makes me look like a total idiot, even worse than “stoopit.” I can handle stoopit. I’ve gotten so used to hearing it from friends and family, I think of it as a term of endearment. Idiot, however, is several notches up from stoopit so it pains me to think that I might have some DNA in the Idiot Department.

Encouraged by my success with the one-plant-divided-into-four, I bought countless packages of Purple Coneflower and planted all but one of them. I started them in those plastic clam-boxes for strawberries in the grocery store. I used a combination of commercial garden soil and seed starting mix. After they became crowded, I potted them up in anything that was handy. Here are the results: