Plant of the Month September 2017

Midsummer at its best – flowering perennials in perfection

A wonderful late summer day is almost unthinkable without them: Flowering perennials with lush flowering blossoms in every possible shade of colour transform any garden into a true sea of flowers. Flowering perennials such as the common coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida), perennial phlox (Phlox paniculata), astilbe (Astilbe taquetii) and the hedgehog or purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) all do their name justice and love sunny spots. They need an open, nutrient-rich soil in order to thrive in optimal conditions. Bold colours, impressive size and a long flowering period are just some of the key features of this plant group. With skilful garden planning in combination such as with white panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata varieties), hosta and filigree grasses, it is possible to design exciting and ever-surprising scenery.

By the way: Due to its anti-inflammatory ingredients, the hedgehog or purple coneflower is also very useful as a medicinal plant . Echinacea purpurea is originally from North America. The first presentation of the plant was made by Robert Morison, professor of botany at Oxford. Morison gave the plant a somewhat cumbersome name “Virginianus latifolius petalis florum longissimis purpurascentibus” . The first publication of the genus name Echinacea was in 1753 by Carl von Linné in Species Plantarum. It was by the German pharmacist and chemist Conrad Moench that the plant received its name “Echinacea purpurea” (in German “purpur-Sonnenhut”) in 1794 that still holds today. The name Echinacea derives from the Greek word “echinos” (hedgehog).

Among the indigenous peoples, it has long been regarded as a tried and tested remedy in many states of the USA. In the traditional medicine of the Native Americans, Echinacea was the cure par excellence and was used to treat almost every illness. It was not until the end of the 19th century that the white settlers also discovered the plant’s healing powers. Today, its active ingredients are used worldwide in various medicines to treat respiratory or urinary tract infections as well as to strengthen the immune system.

In many gardens exciting accents can be set, whether in shrub beds, under treesor in planters with flowering perennials. The main structure of the bed is determined by solitary and flowering perennials as the main plants, reflecting the main recurring concept of the garden.

Yet these perennials are not only captivating in the garden, most of them are also suitable for cutting and placed in vases and spread their splendour also in lush, late summer flower bouquets. Yet these perennials are not only captivating in the garden, most of them are also suitable for cutting and placed in vases and spread their splendour also in lush, late summer flower bouquets.