WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT
Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) are among the most reliable of all native plant species. This salmoncoloured variety in a shorter little plant really pops out. As with all coneflowers, butterflies are attracted because of the easily accessible nectaries. Yet another reason to love them: Most will bloom for months.
WHERE TO PLANT IT
One great thing about coneflowers is that they are the least fussyof all the prairie plants, although 'Hot Coral' – a medium-sized plant about 60 centimetres high by 55 centimetres wide – will need some room, so don't crowd it. It doesn't like rich soil and doesn't need to be coddled. Any kind of garden soil, with some drainage and lots and lots of sun, will do. This is definitely not a shade plant. And it needs water for the first year.
WHAT IT OFFERS
Among its attributes are fantastic blooms about five centimetres across, colour that just doesn't quit and (as demonstrated so farin trials) tremendous hardiness. It has good foliage all the way to the ground, works well with other plants and, since it's shorter, will stand upright without propping. Try it with deep blue delphiniums, purple penstemon or white phlox for eye-popping contrast.
SOURCE AND COST
Get E. 'Hot Coral' for about $9.50 a plant at nurseries such as John's Garden Centre (905-862-8175) in Uxbridge, Ont.
Visitwww.marjorieharris.comfor more plant and gardening information.