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New echinacea

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One of the most colorful parts of the Coastal Maine Botanic Gardens is the perennial garden and the cone flower section. These echinacea flowers are gorgeous!

Most people know of the traditional cone flowers. The purple species is a native wildflower; it grows really well, and is tough as nails. It's a beautiful flower, it attracts butterflies and bees, and it's a nice perennial to have in the landscape.

But there are a whole bunch of new varieties out there that are just stunning.

This dark red one is called "Hot Papaya." It's part of the Conefection series. The cone is not that bristly little ball you normally see on coneflowers. It's so soft, just like bunny tails! It kind of looks like a little toy poodle. But it's got this scarlet color that is really just outstanding. It's visually captivating in the garden.

If you are looking for something with maybe a little fragrance to it, there's "Fragrant Angel." This is a large white flower that has a nice sweet fragrance to it.

If you like the purple ones, but you don't want them to get so big, you might want to get the small one called "Kim's Knee High." It grows only knee high to two feet tall, and it's nice in front of your border.

Now if you want to go a little more tropical with your coneflowers, there's "Coconut Lime."  It has white petals, like that fragrant angel, but this one has more of a lime-colored cone to it.

It's another coneflower with interesting cone configuration. So use coneflowers, not just as a wildflower, but in your perennial garden and mass plant them for a real strong visual effect.

~Charlie Nardozzi

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