Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is important perennial medicinal herb and native to North America, where the dried, powdered root was used by the Plains Indians as an antibiotic to cure rabies, snakebite and septicaemia. Purple Coneflower has traditionally been used to treat or prevent colds, flu, and other infections.
Today it is used in homeopathic medicine and is thought to have beneficial effects, boosting the immune system. With their petals radiating from a prominent centre, coneflowers are rather like giant daisies, to which family they belong. The name comes from the Greek word echinops (‘hedgehog’), an allusion to the bristles on the bracts of the flowers.
A rock garden is simply a plot with a mix of rocks and any of several special species of small flowers. Forging a beautiful and relaxing rock garden in your yard is surprisingly simple. In the planting of rock gardens, we must aim to secure by means of careful selection and grouping, an impression of breadth and boldness in the color masses. Nothing is more satisfactory when contemplating any form of garden art, than the feeling that the designer has from the beginning worked with the idea of achieving some definite purpose. This is especially so in the case of rock gardens. Beautiful garden pictures are only possible when each small plant is made to play its part in the building up of a definite scheme.
There are hundreds of plants suitable for rock gardens, but only the most desirable should be included. Rarity should not influence selection. The commonest and easiest grown flowers are often the most beautiful.
Remember the almost magical feeling of your grandmother’s garden, bursting with loads of colorful, fragrant blooms and magnificent foliage? There was always something going on in the floral garden; and nearly every plant had a specific purpose, whether it was for the kitchen, treating ailments, or keeping up appearances.
Gardeners of the past created beautiful landscapes with many of the same plants commonly seen today. Heirloom plants are quite hardy, and many of these vintage flowers have managed to survive on their own throughout centuries, while others have been cultivated into more modern varieties. Nonetheless, these old-time favorites are worth remembering so why not rediscover the past by incorporating some old-fashioned beauties into your own garden.
Long stem roses are widely considered to be the most popular roses for all occasions. What many people think of as classic long stem roses are in fact Hybrid Tea Roses. A mixture between the Hybrid Perpetual and Tea Rose from China, these long stem beauties have long pointy buds with up to 30-50 petals per bloom.
Since the first discovered Hybrid Tea Rose in 1867, there has been an explosion leading to thousands of long stem rose varieties coming in virtually every color except for blue or black. These long stem roses tend to flower continuously and can grow 2-6 feet tall. High susceptibility to disease and less fragrant smell, when compared to other types of roses, is often attributed to the great deal of inbreeding that has taken place to achieve the attractiveness of long stem roses.
Even late spring can be deceptive. It often seems as though summer has arrived, yet in cold areas there can still be severe late frosts. Take local climate into account before planting any frost-tender plants outdoors. Even with experience it can be a gamble as an untypical season might produce surprises. Judging when frosts are no longer likely is mainly a matter of assessing risk.
It is a good idea to watch when summer bedding is put out in the local parks. These gardeners will have amassed generations of local knowledge of your area, which is by far the best guide.
The Italian Bellflower is one of the best of all summer-flowering trailing plants. For generations it has been grown on windowsills and sideboards, its long grey-green stems tumbling down the side of the pot. During the summer these stems bear a profusion of small star-shaped flowers.
The blooms are clustered at the tips of the stems, and one of the secrets of success for prolonging the display is to remove the flowers once they have faded. Campanulas are no problem – all you have to provide are bright and fairly cool conditions and a compost which is kept moist throughout the growing season. Once flowering is over, cut back the stems and keep cool and fairly dry during the winter rest period.