April 30, 2011

Do You Remember?

Do you remember the first flower that left the most satisfaction in your heart?  The first flower that caused you to believe that you might actually have a gift for gardening?   That gardening was more of a passion for you than a hobby?

For me, that flower would be purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).  Yes, it's an easy to grow native and reseeds readily providing the possibility for a full show of them with little effort.  But I didn't know those things when I planted them so many years ago.  Back then they were an unknown and I stuck them in the ground with the hope that they would just survive.

And survive they did!  They've graced my front garden with cheerful, abundant beauty ever since.  They have multiplied with reckless abandon, been transplanted to the back garden and been shared with gardening friends around the neighborhood. 

This group started from two plants and within a couple of seasons it turned into coneflower 'shapow'!   You can't help but smile as you walk in the front door. 

I love them so much that they were featured in the first blog header I used when I started The Whimsical Gardener.  Now I realize I selected that photo because they were the first flower that gave me confidence in myself as a gardener and they continued to provide courage as I stumbled into the blogging world.

The first and second photo above were taken today - they are just beginning to bud and open.  The next two photos were taken in May 2009.  I can't wait to see what they have in store for me this year...good thing they can handle drought conditions.  (No rain came from the thunderous cloud featured in the previous post).

What about you?  What flower or plant gave you the confidence to be keep growing as a gardener?  What was your first 'shapow'?


  1. Hi Cat,
    A very lovely flower, the Echinacea, it is also extremely good for insects, the ones in my garden are covered in bees in the late summer. Ours in the U.K. won`t flower for a while, the first shoots are only just starting to rise above the soil!
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  2. Wow! How gorgeous! They don't grow like that for me! But I'm bad about 'weeding' anything that I can't immediately identify. Roses must have been my confidence builder - a shrub, so I didn't weed it out. Loves full sun (have lots of that!), acidic soil (check), and blooms! Guess that's why I have so many of them! Great question.

  3. Hi Cat. Just gorgeous. I love echinacea too and have collected many colors over the years but none does as well as the ones like you have in your garden. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Hi Cat - your flowers and photos are, as always, stunning!!

    I'm still waiting for my "shopow"! I think I'm still too new at gardening because I havent yet had that feeling ... I do hope it comes soon!

  5. The purple coneflower is not as prolific here either. I do love them wen they bloom late summer. It must be the clay soil, or the competition of the Black-eyed Susans that keep them in check.

  6. Coneflowers are blooming here. They are a favorite and blend with everything because of the golden cones.

    My first love was Pansies. I was ten. Miss Ann and Miss Susan allowed me to pick as many as I wished. I did not know it was to encourage them to keep flowering. I loved their little faces. Violas are still a fav and I still love their little faces and have flower bricks to show off each little face.

  7. I can't remember what flower made the biggest impact on me, but my veggie garden in South Dakota grew so well, I decided to tackle flowers as well. Actually, it was probably daylilies. They're pretty tough to kill!

  8. Ah, I recall growing these when we lived near Calgary, Alberta - now THERE's a tough climate for gardeners, which is why I picked these. As for my first blooms (as a kid) - I think it was forget-me-nots - they were really easy to grow, would always come back, and had nice colours.

    Wonderful shots, Cat !

  9. For me it was the indigenous freesias and lachenalias I grew from seed, nurtured in pots, and am watching now as the leaves emerge, and those buds will follow.

    BTW I am finding blogspot is learning to block most spam. The more you Mark as Spam, the better the filters work for all of us, going forward.

  10. Such a beautiful, happy stand of coneflowers in your yard! I can't remember which plant was my first breakthrough, but cosmos and freesia from seeds/bulbs give me the most consistent sense of accomplishment. Now I'm adding purple coneflower to my 'to plant' list.

  11. Those coneflowers sure are quite a shapow! I never really thought of my first flower that maybe inspired me. I guess it would have to be a peony since my grandparents loved them and since they told me that peonies are the 'eternal' flower. I still to this day love them and grow more than 30 here so I'm guessing it is the peony.

  12. We don't have coneflowers here. It must have many decades ago when I grew my first plant. Now that you ask, I remember it was a red rose cutting. I made a cutting and it grew very well and that was really some encouragement for a first timer.

  13. Coneflowers were one of the first I planted in my garden too, but I don't think I ever had a *shapow* plants. More like each success was one click in a ratcheting mechanism -- love of plants and gardening just kept growing.

  14. A great question Cat. Forget me nots were my first, grew from seed and saw them bloom plant. A real confidence builder and the sight of them brings me back to my old garden.


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

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