By Sandra Nelson
The seed catalogs have begun to appear in my mailbox, which always gets me dreaming about the multitudes of plants — both new varieties and old favorites — that I want to add to my landscape. With so many to choose from though, it’s difficult to narrow down the list of possibilities to a reasonable number. This year I decided to talk to the experts at Embassy Landscape Group to find out what their “Must Have” plants are.
This week’s pick by Dan Nelson, Senior Designer:
Echinacea — Sombrero Series
“The Sombrero Series gives you a fantastic range of color that lasts throughout the entire summer.”
The Sombrero series of Echinacea (coneflower) guarantees a compact, easily grown native perennial that blooms profusely from June to August and often beyond. The brightly colored 3 to 4 inch long-lasting flowers will rebloom without deadheading and are excellent as both cut and dried flowers.
Coneflowers do well in a range of conditions from full sun to partial shade. They prefer dry to average moisture and well drained soil, but will tolerate drought as well as shallow, rocky or clay soils. The Sombrero series withstands periods of heat and high humidity and are rarely bothered by insects and diseases. Very low maintenance, Echinacea in the Sombrero series rarely requires fertilization. Clumps need to be divided about every four years. Butterflies frequent the flowers in summer, while birds, especially goldfinches, devour remaining seedheads in fall and winter. Deer usually avoid them.
These hardy perennials are striking as massed borders and beds, but are also beautiful paired with ornamental grasses, Russian sage and varieties of monarda in naturalized settings. They are an essential for the cutting garden.
Zones 4 – 9
Available bloom colors: Pink, Red, Coral, Yellow, Orange, Gold
Dark green foliage