While overcast today, the temperatures weren't too bad with highs in the upper 30 degrees F. The warm up over this past weekend melted a lot of the ice that had entrapped our Holiday Light Show (HLS) cords and lights in many locations. We had a good crew out there collecting in the gardens as well as doing some tidying as well. Big John, Larry H., Terry, Marv and Bob C. were all out in the gardens this morning. They guys took a huge dent out of the HLS tasks. Bob C. and Dick H. also did quite a bit of sweeping up as well. Dave, Vern, Jim and Gene all had carpentry work to accomplish and Ron P. was back to continue repairing HLS lights prior to storage. Dick H. was working on some additional projects and Dr. Gredler did more painting. Gary S. started making signs for our Caladium Collection and Bill O. had plenty of action in the Horticulture Center in the afternoon. Kathy P., Cindy and Kay worked on processing more seeds for our growers and there is light at the end of the tunnel with this process. We're cross checking our seeds to make sure we have what we need for grounds as well as the Spring Plant Sale (Mother's Day weekend!). I bounced between myriad tasks including ordering, labels, etc.
The classic white coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) never fails to dazzle when at summer peak. There are some older varieties that still have merit in the garden although some more modern selections are exciting as well. I've included photos of many that I've observed over the years including some exciting double forms as like 'Coconut Lime' seen directly above. Heights will range between 12" and 36" by variety so do some research prior to planting them in a full sun (ideal) situation with decent soils and ample moisture. Pollinators will appreciate these as well. I will say that some white selections don't "age" well in that the older flowers will show petal browning and the plant looks tired and "dirty" during this transition. Some varieties will maintain a VERY long period of pure white; my favorites for a lengthy white contribution are 'Milkshake' and 'Virgin'. Enjoy this abbreviated assortment of some of the best of the white coneflower varieties...
'Snow Cone' (above and below)
'Virgin' (above and below)
'White Swan' (above and below) - good classic
'Fragrant Angel' (above and two below) - VERY light fragrance
'Milkshake' (above and below)
Photo of 'Milkshake' above from the Chicago Botanic Garden
'PowWow White' - easy from seed
Sombrero 'Blanco' - BRAND NEW!