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Thank you for listening to the show. It's the perfect mix of my two passions: podcasting and gardening. They both come together to create The Still Growing Gardening Podcast and bring it to life each week. 
 
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Still Growing...
 
 
 
(Jennifer Ebeling)
 
 
 

Aug 4, 2017

Today’s show is all about Echinacea - it’s my all-time favorite American native perennial. In fact, one of my first recommendations to new gardeners who are looking for ornamental perennials is Echinacea. Like my Grandmother Bernadette, Echinacea is a daughter of the prairie, absolutely beautiful, and tough as nails.   And, I predict you’re going to be absolutely crazy about it - if you aren’t already.

Between now and the end of summer, gardeners appreciate any perennial that provides a fresh pop of color and vigor - something to tide them over until Fall.  Naturally, Black-eyed Susans fit the bill.  But for me, it’s tough to beat the brilliance of Echinacea in the garden this time of year.  Additionally, if you’ve never grown one of the new varieties - hold onto your plants - because you are in for a beautiful blast of color!


And, don’t even get me started on how easy they are to grow. Echinacea love full sun. They are drought tolerant. Perhaps best of all, they are a power pollinator plant. I’ve said it before (most recently in my Basilmania Episode where I sing the praises of basil): At some point in your development as a gardener, you want to grow something that is just a natural home run. Echinacea fits the bill. With all of the varieties and colors on the market today - you really can’t go wrong with Echinacea.


I mentioned earlier in the introduction, that today’s deep dive into The Echinacea Evolution is just the beginning of the story of what has been happening to this plant over the past 13 years.  Breeders are creating an ever more beautiful color palette for Echinacea. In fact, it was so fun to look at posts on social media as I was researching this Episode. Invariably, people express disbelief and an instant desire for these incredible new selections.  Saying, “I must have this” or “It is on my list!” or “perfection.” or “I love this plant!” or my favorite “This must be an April fools”.  Indeed, these new varieties can have an almost other-worldly, Seussical quality.

This Echinacea Evolution Episode is my little historical retrospective on Echinacea. So, if you’ve never grown a new variety, or even if you’ve never grown the old standby species purpurea, it’s all good - because you’re about to be given just about as much information as a gardener can handle when it comes to Echinacea. And I’m totally serious about this. 

In fact, this is probably the most challenging Episode I’ve put together, because there really isn’t a comprehensive resource capturing this exciting time in Echinacea breeding. I had to piece a lot of this information together all on my own.  Ultimately, I’m hoping that it inspires you - in the same way it’s inspired me - to track down some of the new varieties to grow in my own garden and definitely to appreciate the amazing work of breeders - and incredibly it’s happening right now in our lifetime. That’s very exciting.

 
For this Echinacea Evolution show, let me give you a quick roadmap.  I'll start with how to care for Echinacea. It’s really pretty easy - but I’ve also stumbled on some great advice from the breeders themselves that should help ensure greater success for growing Echinacea in your garden. We’ll talk about propagation and challenges - including the status of the hardiness debate.  I’ll share some of the history, taxonomy, and herbal uses of Echinacea.  And, before I discuss species and specific new varieties, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize some of the amazing folks who have brought these new selections into the world: Jim Ault, Richard & Bobbie Saul, Arie Blom, Dan Heims, Kevin Hurd, Kim Hawkes, Marco van Noort, Mark Veeder, and Piet Oudolf. Finally, I’ll take you through some of the amazing new varieties of Echinacea - just know that there are over five hundred - and my list is just a fraction of the new selections. So Whew! That’s the goal for today’s show - The Echinacea Evolution.


Let’s get started!

 

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The Garden News Roundup for August 4th, 2017:

 

Guest Update

Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly with Currants – You Won’t Believe the Flavor

Sustainability

7 Ways to Fertilize the Garden with Comfrey | Tenth Acre Farm

 

Continuing Ed

What Placeholder Plants Can Do For You

Nooks and Crannies in the Garden

What causes tomatoes to crack?

This Small Backyard In San Francisco Was Designed For Entertaining

What Placeholder Plants Can Do For You

 

How To/DIY

Pallet Planter Ideas that Stylishly Bring Upcycling to Your Garden

Garden Tic Tac Toe Game

 

Plant Spotlight

Gardening: ‘Z’ is for zinnia, a durable annual that thrives in the summer

 

In the News

'Incredibly Rare Orchid' Worth Millions Almost Became This Woman's House Plant

The Interesting Story Behind Victory Gardens

 

Dream Guest

Botanical Art: Portraits of Houseplants from Dutch Painter Maaike Koster

The garden of landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith

 

Science

Ken Thompson: how buttercups can teach you the age of a meadow

New non-photosynthesizing plant species discovered on Ishigaki island, Japan

 

Shopping

Four Stylish 2018 Calendars

 

Inspiration

Don’t trust your eyes—that leaf is actually a butterfly

Story of the most photographed creations of Chelsea Flower Show

 

Recipes

No Recipes this week

 

Quotables

Link to this week's quotables

 

Helpful Time Stamps

 

The Garden News Roundup

Time Stamp 25:35

 

An Introduction to Echinacea

Time Stamp 46:15

 

How to Care For Echinacea

Time Stamp 51:25

 

Challenges of Growing Echinacea

Time Stamp 58:15

 

The New Selections of Echinacea

Time Stamp: 1:11:10