"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it is your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else." ~ Georgia O'Keeffe (American Painter, 1887-1986)Well, this is a day late and a dollar short but the color infusion is a blessing and much needed in February. And days like today with balmy temperatures and that blast of Spring that is in the air.. well, I am looking forward to seeing if these beauties survived the winter and if they are truly able to multiply and grow stronger in their second garden go round.
These are all Echinacea purpurea or purple coneflowers... which is fine, except they are not purple! The purple variety are the native wildflowers that grow in the central plains. They derive their common name from the prickly cone shaped central disk that towers over the daisy like petals. These days an explosion of color has appeared as cultivars that range from bright sunrise yellow through hot orange to tomato soup red. Whites and even lime green varieties along with double rows of petals and fragrant flowers have been added. So the purple coneflower is not your great-great-grandmother's coneflower.
A derivative of the tap root, Echinacea has been touted as an enhancer of the body's immune system... great for colds. It was used by Native Americans for a variety of disorders including toothaches, sore throats and coughs. Some proponents insist that this is great for preventing or shortening colds and other research indicates that it has no effect at all. Ah... the power of placebo suggestion.
So, I don't really know the answer to the "medicinal" uses.. but if you let these gorgeous blooms fade in the garden and leave the central cones to dry and turn brown.. well, yes, it doesn't look that neat and pristine... but the seeds in those cones are simply bliss for the small birds in winter, particularly the finches. I have seen them perch on the sturdy but dead stems and graze to their little hearts content.
So, this (late) ABC Wednesday is the letter "E" and that stands for Echinacea... an efflorescence of exquisite elegance, easy on the eyes as well as an edible entrée that endows essential energy to our fine feathered friends. (Just thinking about next week)
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ABC Wednesday Cycle 8 ~ The Letter "E"