When I started teaching horticulture in the 1980s, there was a love affair going on with coneflowers (Echinacea spp. and cvs.). There were a handful of tried-and-true cultivars to choose from, but plant breeders were just starting to explore the possibilities of expanding the coneflower palette. In 1989, Allan Armitage’s second edition of Herbaceous Perennial Plants listed a whopping 12 cultivars. Fast-forward to 2010: Armitage’s third edition lists 34 coneflower cultivars. A slew of new varieties are introduced each year, and no one, including me, can keep up.
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