Late summer now and the plants I consider the diehards are blooming. These ones, like the coneflowers, bloom despite the drought and heat. That's convenient because it's one less thing to wonder about if you go away for a week or two of holidays.
They are a herbaceous perennial with a cone shaped purple flower that's rusty brown in the middle. There are other colors of coneflower such as red ones but these are probably the best known.
You should have them in your garden for many reasons. As a native plant (North America), it's critical to the health and wellbeing of our native wildlife, like butterflies which are attracted to their nectar, and goldfinches that love their seeds. Drought resistance means they should be okay if you ever face water rationing. And for that matter, it's nice the plant isn't fussy, blooming away for a couple of months even in less than ideal conditions.
There is an exception with the wildlife. If you live in an area with a large deer population, it's good to know they repel deer.
Planting and Care of
Plant the seeds in the spring in humus rich, well-drained soil. They're not fussy about its ph. Depending on the variety, they will need 1-3 feet (30-90 cms) of space. They prefer sun but also tolerate partial shade as long as they get about 3-6 hours of sunshine per day.
A little compost around them in the spring will keep the weeds down and help with soil moisture. If the garden is dry, be sure to water it if you want them to be their best.
Progagation includes division, root cuttings and basal cuttings. Remember to dead head them when the flowers die or they will reseed themselves but they're not overly aggressive at this. Also, if the plants sprawl out, you might want to cut them back because they can root.
That's all pretty simple.
The plants from the Echinacea family have long been used in traditional medicine. Echinacea is available over the counter as a tea, liquid extract, dried herb, capsule and pill. Their primary use today is in cold and flu remedies.
Photo from the iPad of @kansuze.