Plant Breeder, Spare That Coneflower!
Excuse me while I go on a little rant. This year’s plant catalogs are starting to arrive, which is generally a wonderful thing. However, some of those catalogs are touching a sore spot with me: namely, the never-ending supply of ugly and unnatural varieties of Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).
Exhibit one: ‘Eccentric Yellow’. This is a misnomer. How about ‘Grotesque Yellow’? Or ‘Useless Yellow’? Because all of the wildlife value has surely been extracted from this cultivar. Which is quite an accomplishment, since Purple Coneflower is one of the best perennials for birds and pollinators.
Let me be clear: I am not a purist. I plant cultivars in my garden, along with the straight species of many plants. And I love brightly-colored flowers. But there is something objectionable about cultivars that take such extreme liberties with the essential form and color of any plant.
Here’s another one, ‘Green Twister’. At least this one doesn’t have that ridiculous pompom at the center. But still, to my eye this variety is lurid and ugly.
Though I admit I am not really fond of green flowers in general. A green flower seems pointless to me. Green in a garden, we are told, allows us to rest our eyes from all the brightly-colored flowers. But if the flowers themselves are green, are eyes may become rested to the point of lethargy.
OK, I’m done. That’s all for now.