Echinacea is my go to when I feel a cold coming on. Admittedly I swear by it! But it was a long time before I knew Echinacea and Coneflowers were essentially one and the same. So I have a tremendous amount of admiration for these flowering plants. Not to mention a deep appreciation for their medicinal properties in my times of need.
As the hot, dog days of summer drag on, floral subject matter to photograph becomes more sparse. I know there are conventional summer garden flowers about, but they don’t appeal to me in the way that wildflowers do.
The usual suspects at the community gardens I enjoy frequenting this time of year are normally bursting with California poppies and Bachelor’s buttons. But not so much this season. Even the little patches of normally occurring purple Coneflowers are absent.
The weather this season has been rather wonky with bouts of rain and hail earlier on. And many of the garden flowers have shown wear and tear of these weather events.
Coneflowers Come in an Array of Colors and Varieties
Coneflowers/Echinacea are tough perennials in the daisy family and one of America’s native wildflowers.
Coming to life around mid-summer, their colorful purple/pink blooms are hard to miss. They are in their blooming prime. But in truth, they come in an array of colors and varieties!
Here’s some Coneflower trivia: “The genus is named after the Greek word for hedgehog, echinos, because of the cone-like center which attracts butterflies and bees.”
The shades of purple/pinks are the usual suspects I’ve with some white ones here and there. But last year’s discovery at the local Lowe’s Garden Center revealed that coneflowers come in shades of oranges, reds, ambers and yellows. That was a treat to the flower photographer’s eyes!
Some of these newly discovered varieties were the ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ Coneflower and fiery red Sombrero Tres Amigo Coneflowers to name a few. But a google search will reflect that there are many more varieties. All in all, photographing these flowers is lovely. These would colorfully grace any summer garden. I only wish I had a place to plant them!!
Wandering on Foot Whenever Possible
Wandering on foot is is preferred method of transportation whenever possible. And I LOVE not having to drive to capture flower photos. It’s in those occasions where one makes discoveries.
Growing in a flower bed in a near-by driveway was a nice patch of Coneflowers. I noted the discovery for a return visit with camera in hand. So a few days later, I spent some time with these flowers and the many bees that visited them.
The hail storms had left their mark as some of the flower petals were a bit banged up. Hail is NO friend to flowers! Sadly others were being munched on by the notorious, invasive Japanese beetles. They are nasty, destructive buggers 😡
I flicked away as many as I could!
A Variety of Bees Visits these Flowers
These flowering plants are incredibly bee friendly! They appeal to a variety of bees from honey bees to bumble bees to little hovering bee flies.
FYI, bee flies are very bizarre looking. They look like a combination of a bee and a fly. Their heads and wings look like a fly but they hover and have fuzzy bee-like bodies.
With so many pollinators taking a hit from nasty pesticides we continue to pump into our environment, it’s wonderful to see all these bees buzzing about.
In the photo above you can see this strange little fella known as a bee-fly. Not the best angle as you can’t see its fly-looking eyes. They’re not very big and it’s interesting to watch them hover.
While I love the humble little honey bee, I have a special place for bumble bees. And you don’t see as many of them as you once did 🙁
The orange belted bumble is a favorite for sure and this was the first time this season I’d seen one. So much to my delight, one remained still long enough to capture a lovely photo! Perched on the white coneflower’s spiky center, it carefully went about it pollen gathering mission. And I gratefully had a front row seat – no pricey ticket required 🙂