Most of these cultivars and hybrids died out within 1-3 years; one constantly got some sort of leafspot, defoliated, and called it quits by August. Most were stunted and didn't bloom all that much. Someone once told me you shouldn't let these cultivars bloom the first year, instead help them work on establishing good roots. But I just don't mess with them anymore -- plus, those frankenflowers like 'double decker' and 'coconut lime' were just the last straw.
Here's an image of a dry corner that's finally taken off this year for me. It took me 5 years to figure out I should just go species, and 1-2 years after planting I'm getting some sweetness:
That's Echinacea pallida up front, simulata in back, and paradoza to the left. Now, they all aren't native to Nebraska, but I'm not being picky with my cones -- they still get lots of insects and are robust. Maybe I'm cheating by not going 100% native here, but I think these species are close enough, and a lot closer than mutants, er, cultivars that have been bred to a weaker or unproven form.
I also use Ratibida pinnata, grey-headed coneflower, though you'll hear lots of folks say not to use it in a small garden. Blah. It gently self sows in my THICK, MULCHED garden, and if I don't like a seedling where it is I move it, or easier yet, yank it out. This still leaves you with other Ratibida's and Rudbeckias, so why use cultivars and hybrids?
I've also been enjoying Rudbeckia missouriensis this year. No, it's not native to Nebraska, but it grows fast, has lovely blooms in June before the main July show, and I can winter sow it easily. Plus, I've never seen fuzzier leaves, not even on Echinacea pallida, which makes it good for a tactile children's garden. Don't forget Rudbeckia maxima, giant coneflower, with its large blue leaves. Any other suggestions?