Coneflower


Creating a Pollinator Paradise

Creating a Pollinator Paradise


Posted on Aug 18, 2017 | 0 comments

As much as we love to admire and sniff them, flowers aren’t just for our enjoyment. They are essential elements of the ecosystem. Winged bugs of all stripes love and depend on flowers for nutrition and survival. Let’s do our part to nurture a robust pollinator population by planting the right varieties that benefit them most.

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35278_5For the average gardener, there would be no garden without full sun perennials. They provide most of the colors, textures, and fragrances that serve to give a garden its basic structure. From spring to fall, these are your staples– just fill in along the way with a few annuals, tropicals, and short bloomers.

That being said, full sun perennials will also require the bulk of your attention. Full sun perennials will respond positively to regular maintenance. You will need to prune in late winter and spring, deadhead your blooms, and divide your plants when the growth becomes to dense. They also love soils with high organic matter content and good mulch.

Caring for full sun perennials may be taxing, but you will appreciate your garden when the work is done. Check out all the sun perennials from Wayside!

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The Healing Power of Coneflowers

The Healing Power of Coneflowers


Posted on Jun 17, 2014 | 0 comments

Echinacea (Coneflower)

Echinacea (Coneflower)

You may already love Coneflowers for their impressive tolerance of high heat, humidity, drought and other environmental stresses, but those aren’t the only tricks this perennial has up its sleeve. Did you know that the root of Echinacea angustifolia was originally used to treat toothache, tonsillitis, and pain in the bowels? The story goes that Native Americans discovered the healing powers of this flower when they noticed that sick Elk would seek out and eat the plant. Ever since then, Echinacea has been a popular natural remedy in America, revered for its immune-boosting effect. It has been used to treat everything from the common cold all the way up to rattlesnake bites! 

Scientific analysis of Echinacea has found that the  fat-soluble alkylamides in the plant have an immunomodulatory effect, increasing our immune system’s ability to fight antigens. The chemical basis for this is complex, and the exact chain of cause-and-effect has not been determined yet, but the prevailing wisdom is that Echinacea can temporarily boost your immune system, which makes it a great thing to take when you first feel a tickle in your throat, or when someone in your household comes down with a cold. I personally wouldn’t rely on Echinacea to save me from a snake bite, but I have found it effective so far at keeping the cold and flu at bay.

The potent medicinal value of this timeless perennial  is one of many reasons that back in 2014 the National Garden Bureau named it the “Year of the Echinacea”!

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(Note: This is Part 3 in a series. For more info on this topic be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2).

If your problem is not too much rain, but too little, again we can look to nature for solutions. In nature you don’t see lush tropical plants trying to grow in the desert. Rather, the flora follows the climate, with plants growing only as full and lush as the local water sources allow. We can learn from nature’s wisdom by adapting our gardens to suit our climate and by making good use of every raindrop the sky gives us! We can mimic the water cycle by carefully conserving and re-using our water supplies. We can mimic deserts and prairies by landscaping with drought-tolerant native species rather than “thirsty” turfgrass and ornamentals. And for those of us that are really ambitious, we can mimic the way that forest landscapes hold onto rain by utilizing techniques like Hugelkultur and swales.

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