Let's define decent coneflowers: none of those freaks with fluffy pom poms where the seed head should be, but the geneticists put the thing too close to radiation and well, you know, strange things started happening. Do NOT get me started on this.
Below we shall enjoy, shall shall shall, views of the garden--now grown to twice its girth in the last two weeks. We shall partake in the lovely colors, and more importantly, textures. We shall ignore the portion by the fence on the small hill where not much works yet (dry in summer, wet in winter / spring where it's shaded and ice lingers while other parts of the garden are greening up).
And oh, do we have a birdfeeder for you hip cats....
I usually have terrible luck with these new cone cultivars, but 'Sundown' came back with vigor for me this year. 'Swan' and 'Sunrise' are two dependable ones, but I always figured that's because they weren't uber modified like these more recent and weaker ones.
I'm too lazy to look up, and therefore can't remember, what this cultivar is named--but I do enjoy it.
I thought this was nice. So do you, by the way.
A close up of Queen of the Prairie in bloom. Smells like roses. You have to have this native plant. This year it, like most everything else, has grown massively. The filipendula is now about 6' tall and 4' wide and shading a turtlehead and meadow rue.
Wild Quinine. When I first picked up this medium to large native perennial I was iffy--looked kinda boring. And it is. But look at these unique 'blooms.' Reminds me of cauliflower (click to expand). This plant is currently at about 4' tall by 3' wide, slouching a bit because we recently had 5-6" of rain in two weeks after nothing the whole spring.
I really enjoy the different textures in this photo. And again, so do you. Liatris up front with sumac to the left, cones and monarda behind, then wild quinine, eupatorium and ironweed along the fence. Meeeoooowww.
A suprise for me this year in how I like this combo of 'Black Lace' elderberry and Amsonia hubrichtii. The amsonia is finally at about full height and spread, but the elderberry is still settling in--growing too much out instead of up, so I've begun contorting (staking) it to turn upwards. Doing far too much staking this year, mostly that pesky deluge of 3" last week which finished off most tall things.
Last year's garden art acquisition. Pretty at sunset. Right?
And our new birdfeeder. We really debated purchasing this as it was out of our budget. But the wife said "hey, this can be our anniversary present." And fortunately, something good happened only days later that made the purchase affordable. Help the economy (eh), help artists (yes!). My mom says only fashionable birds would use this feeder, but so far it's just pretty much grackles. 10 at a time. They darken the sky.
I ADORE my Rudbeckia maxima (and the birdfeeder behind it in this photo, just in case you hadn't noticed). I have this giant--6 feet--black-eyed susan set where two paths diverge in the garden, and it is at the point of a bed of red monarda and chocolate joe pye weed. The height at this spot is just perfect, it seems to me, and adds so much interest with its big blue leaves (again not shown here, so google it and buy one). I first discovered this plant over at View From Federal Twist, then bought it at Ambergate Gardens in Minnesota--two very cool places you should visit.