Dreamy coneflowers? When I first started gardening, the last word I would have used for purple coneflowers would be “dreamy.” I thought of them as decent-looking workhorses that came in purple and white. And if you planted the white variety you had to be prepared for it to self-seed purple progeny and then to vanish.
But yesterday my sister Kathy and I attended a Summer Solstice Event at Ball Horticultural Co. in nearby West Chicago, lured by the promise of a pig roast, and after viewing the new coneflower varieties, I see them in a new light. Plant scientists have rummaged around in coneflower DNA and found all sorts of delicious new colors and shapes.
Keep in mind that these are new, and that these exact varieties may not be available at your local nursery. Also, I have done my best to match the names to the correct varieties, but I may not always have hit the mark.
But if you have shade, consider astilbes. My sister and I agree, though, that astilbes are more persnickety than gardeners are sometimes led to believe. They like shade, but not too much, can’t take dry shade, but don’t like too much moisture either.