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: