U of I Extension talk to explore coneflowers

WOODSTOCK – It all started harmlessly with purple coneflower, Echinacea purprurea.

Breeders started to discover crosses between different Echinacea species that offered unusual flowers and colors, and the explosion began.

“Razzamatazz” was the first unusual flower-shaped Echinacea with unique purple double pompom flowers. The Chicago Botanic Gardens had its breakthrough introduction, “Orange Meadowbrite,” in 2004 and from there the introductions have been nonstop.

But which ones really perform up to their professionally written labels?

Horticulture educator Martha Smith of University of Illinois Extension will explain the recent history of this coneflower craze.

The program will introduce participants to the coneflowers that have rated very high in trial gardens of different cultivars.

“Coneflowers gone CRAZY!” will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the University of Illinois Extension office, 1102 McConnell Road, Woodstock. There is a $5 charge for the program.

The presentation will be presented via the University of Illinois telenet system and local computer PowerPoint presentations, allowing live discussion between the presenter and gardeners throughout Illinois. Advance registration is required at web.extension.illinois.edu/lm.

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