Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
During the 2010 growing season a number of plants received various kinds of honors. Some of these varieties are suitable for cut flowers. Here are details on some award winning echinaceas and other new cut flower varieties.
Echinacea Prairie Splendor
During 2010 this lovely plant received the American Garden Award Second Prize. This marks the second year for this prestigious award. The selected varieties are planted at public gardens around the country, and the public is asked to vote on their favorite. Prairie Splendor held second place.
Blooming the very first year it is planted, this perennial is noted for its large, purplish-pink blooms, which are up to 3½ inches wide. Reaching two feet in height, the stems are long enough for use as a cut flower. Prairie Splendor blooms throughout the growing season, beginning in June and continues through the fall. Compared to other echinaceas, all of the plants will bloom the very first year, which is unusual for this group. In addition, the flowers begin to open earlier in the year than comparable varieties, and continue blooming for far longer.
This variety is hardy to zone four. It reaches two feet in height. As with other purple coneflowers, Prairie Splendor can be used as a large mass flower. They can be used whenever daisies are needed. They have a vase life of about a week or so.
Tiger Eye Rudbeckia
This received an American Garden Award the first year this awards program began. There are many memorable things about this plant. First, there is the fact that is a superior, reliable garden performer. The uniform, well branched plants can be grown as annuals. Fast growing, this forms a neat clump. The dense, bushy plants are upright and reach two feet in height with a two foot spread. Very free flowering, this has long lasting flowers. The semi-double blooms are up to four inches wide, and are pure gold. In fact this was one of the very first pure gold hybrids with brown centers.
These plants are disease resistant, and withstand powdery mildew. They also are quite tolerant of humidity and heat as well.
Tiger Eye can be used much like any of the other black-eyed susans. They make a great medium to large mass flower, and can be used whenever you need daisy-like blooms. They have a vase life of around ten days or so.