Cottage-garden fave purple coneflower thrives in new home


My current garden is much less cottagey than my former garden. But some cottage-garden favorites will always have a place in any garden I make, including purple coneflower. I grew this stand from seed collected from the coneflowers in my old garden. They are easy to grow from seed, but be patient. They may be small the first couple of years, but by the third spring they will erupt into this.


Let’s zoom in for a butterfly’s view, shall we? Now I have Lucinda Willliams’s classic “Big Red Sun Blues” playing in my head.


Such a happy flower, and they last forever in a vase. My daughter cut me some for Mother’s Day, and they’re still going strong.


What else is blooming right now? I can’t resist adding another picture of ‘Madame Ganna Walska,’ a tropical water lily in my stock-tank pond.


It’s May, so the daylilies are blooming. This is ‘Best of Friends.’ I’ve found that it looks best in partial shade. Under the full glare of the Texas sun its apricot-pink color tends to bleach out.


‘Black Pearl’ ornamental pepper has had one bloom cycle already and is producing its distinctive glossy, round peppers. This is one annual worth replanting every year for its near-black foliage and beautiful “pearls.” I do have a few volunteers coming up from last year’s plants, but they are still teeny-tiny, and I couldn’t resist adding a few 4-inch pots last month for instant results.


After two years, the Yucca rostrata ‘Sapphire Skies’ in the sunny hillside garden is becoming a spherical beauty. I love this plant. (Behind it you can see that I ripped off ESP‘s idea to use a cedar stump—courtesy of Bob at Draco Gardens—to display a color-coordinated gazing ball.) I wonder when its trunk will begin to develop. Patience, Pam.

All material © 2006-2011 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

14 Responses

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It is difficult to be patient when you want something to grow. I too love the cone flower. It even bloomin in my partially shady back garden. Those peppers are a dramatic color. My daughter uses them in her garden every summer.

  2. Jean says:

    So many pretty blooms Pam. I’ve never tried coneflower from seed. In fact, it seems when I try on purpose to grow from seed, it doesn’t work too well. Maybe I need patience too.

  3. Coneflowers are a favorite for me, too. I’ve sown (directly into the garden) a lot of the native echinacea paradoxa this year. There are a lot of seedlings and if the rabbits and voles don’t eat them, I hope to have quite a grouping of blooms in 2012! Voles ate the roots off most of my echinacea ‘Prairie Splendor’ in the cottage garden over the winter. I’ve filled in those gaps with ‘Pow Wow Wild Berry’ and the seeds that I collected and sowed from ‘Prairie Splendor’ are gaining ground and will probably bloom this year.

  4. Scott says:

    I totally agree…I don’t think I could ever have a garden without Echinacea…and I’m always tossing the seeds around the garden in hopes of volunteers! I’m partial to the old-fashioned variety, with those lovely, reflexing petals. I’ll have to try growing them (purposely) from seed next year to plant in our parking strip. Love that pepper…I’ve seen them around and they are so striking!

  5. David C. says:

    Nice mix of plants in your present and past cottage garden themes – I just designed a truely desert cottage garden concept for a client who “gets it”. So glad someone else posted music they hear with their blog posts!

    Be patient w/ the trunk-forming of Y. rostrata…even here in the desert it is one of the slower tree yuccas to do that. As opposed to the lightning speed of Y. elata, Y. faxoniana and Y. decipiens / filifera.

  6. Meredith says:

    Just as you said, my purple coneflowers were small to start, and this year, year 3, they are huge and really coming into their own. Purple coneflowers will always be one of my favorites for beauty and wildlife value.

  7. Frances says:

    That is a nice patch of Echinaceas, Pam, well done. Any garden of mine will also have it growing there, no matter the style or size. It might be one of those six plants we cannot live without. ;- Love the waterlily and yucca, too.

  8. If I didn’t love coneflowers for their flamboyant personalities, well, I’d adore them for all the wildlife they attract, from early spring till they’ve pooped out, which is when all the goldfinches begin to harvest their seeds.

    Love this posting,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  9. Coneflowers grew like weeds in Illinois, were devoured by the deer at our previous Austin garden, but at this one? They started out like gangbusters then decreased in following years. The few survivors are just budding now. I suspect all the beds are shadier than when we made them and planted the Echinacea. They look great in your garden, Pam!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  10. Darla says:

    Coneflowers are a garden staple here too. The first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap!

  11. Cynthia says:

    Coneflowers are one of my faves, too. When my daughter was born, my mother-in-law brought a huge bucket of them – now they are her birthday flower. Unfortunately, the deer ate the tops of them this year, so we may not have any blooms. Wahh!

  12. Pam/Digging says:

    I enjoyed hearing your coneflower stories and other comments, everyone. Thanks for stopping by! —Pam

  13. Your coneflowers are just lovely! I’m watching goldfinches flutter on mine right now! And dang, I meant to look for the Black Pearl and it eluded me. Will pay more attention. I would love to have that color in my garden.

  14. Beautiful photographs! The “butterfly’s view” belongs on a magazine cover! I think I need to add Black Pearl to my garden.

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