The stalwart Echinacea, whose scientific name is known to most as a natural immune booster, makes a great summer plant in the Northeast. Commonly called the coneflower, it has a long blooming period that just began this past week, manages to stand up to the wicked heat we’ve had of late, and keeps its dark green foliage fresh until the fall. Hybridizers have gone overboard in developing fragrant varieties, in a veritable rainbow of hues. I haven’t had much luck with the newer ones – they are a bit too delicate and precious for the harshness of the locations for which I’ve desired them. (The one I did put in ended up turning black and croaking within a few weeks – never a good sign.)

The traditional pink variety, seen here in radial bud, is a much better option, even if it does tend to reseed a little too prolifically. These can rise high in a happy home, all the way to three feet tall, and slowly spread to form impactful clumps. They’re also a favorite of bees and butterflies, who aid in the pollination a bit too freely. Oh well, who am I to deny anyone their intoxication?

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