It’s December, which means time to write. One of the first essays I wrote on the subject of perennial gardening was this brief introduction to purple coneflower. Landscape architects and native plant specialists may gravitate to the less often seen pale coneflower (Echinacea pallida), but it says something about a plant when it is instantly recognizable from coast to coast. From childhood onward we know purple coneflower in the American landscape.
One of the things I noticed this past year about purple coneflower in our own gardens is how little I thought about it when it came to fertilizing, pruning, watering, staking, and on and on. So many of our garden plants seem to exist to give us something to do. Once established, purple coneflower is reliable for both us and the goldfinches, and all we have to do is show up.