A Few Photos Starting With Echinacea "Mac N Cheese"

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Just thought I'd post a couple of photos from this past week starting with a first bloom on Echinacea "Mac N Cheese".

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Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Here's Echinacea "Tiki Torch" just starting to bloom again this year down here in South Florida

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Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

And this is a first bloom from today on a new Rudbeckia grown from seed named "Tiger Eye Gold"

Jon

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Chattanooga, TN(Zone 7b)

wow, that's so cool to see them doing so well down your way. i was thinking about you today and was wondering when you would post an update.

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Howdy

Most of my Coneflowers are starting to bloom now after being quiet and looking bad most of the winter down here in Zone 10. The two that didn't make it through the winter were "Primadonna White" and "Pink Parasol". I get the feeling there might be some growing problems across the board with Echinacea "Mac N Cheese". I haven't read anything about this but I've noticed there are now very few online retailers offering this variety for purchase or they have pushed back the release for sale date. Echinacea "Tomato Soup" is a good growing plant, but hasnt produced any blooms for me quite yet.
Growing Rudbeckia from seed has been a real challenge for me down here. I have about 5 or 6 varieties growing and most of them look healthy but havent had any blooms to date. The only exception has been Rudbeckia "Tiger Eye Gold" which has been a great grower from seed and all 4 plants I have are blooming or had buds on them. Four of the six Rudbeckia "Cherry Brandy" plants I grew looked great and then went into sudden death for some reason. The other two still look good, but no blooms yet. I ordered and received 3 new "Cherry Brandy" plants from www.bluestoneperennials.com last week. They are nice sized starter plants and appear to be very healthy. They are the only online company I could find selling Rudbeckia "Cherry Brandy" as starter sized plants. I recommend them if anyone wants to go that route with "Cherry Brandy".
Even though this has nothing to do with Coneflowers if you're looking for something different/beautiful and easy to grow from seed I highly recommend Aster "Spider Chrysanthemum Mix" from Thompson & Morgan. These are easy growing 3-4 inch blooms on plants that branched well with just one pinching. Here is a photo from yesterday on a white colored one that turns pink around the edges after a couple of days.

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Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

And here is another pink colored bloom that comes from the same package of seeds. The other flower in the photo is Lisianthus "Florida Pink". Hope all this info is helpful.

Jon

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Chattanooga, TN(Zone 7b)

jon,
i got a tray of the mac n cheese from their first production run, they all grew well here for me but were extremely sensitive to over-watering. similar to sunrise, they had to go to stage 1 in between and be constantly fanned. i have killed mine and several others folks share of coneflowers before i learned to recognize the tell-tale signs early.

customers who have sprinklers or water a lot had trouble with them also. but even if they died to the ground, they seemed to come back from the roots 85% of the time. but the flower is just stunning, isn't it? large, flat and it holds that color, i saw them last year in the trial gardens at TNN.

that mum mix is lovely, i am always looking for something airy and pretty as a filler and those look they could just do the job.

cherry brandy was a bust for me. i put out two 72's of seeds and ended up with a total of - drumroll please - 6 plants. i gave 1 away, 2 died and i have 3 left. they look pretty wimpy but i planted them in the display area.
tiger eye gold wasn't much better, i put out 2 50's and had about 12 plants. they are in the display area also.
i will see how they turn out and if possible, collect seeds.

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Wow. You must be a professional grower??? Some of those terms you talked about I have no idea what they mean. I just started gardening about 2 years ago so I'm pretty new to the scene and still have lots to learn. What does "fanned" mean? Thanks for all your imput on "Mac N Cheese" and "Cherry Brandy". I had a feeling I wasn't the only one having trouble with these two. I totally agree with what you're saying about these two. Echinacea "Mac N Cheese" is definitely beautiful but very sensitive to watering. I may be overwatering a bit also. It can be tough down here finding just the right times to water since everything dries out so fast in our sun and since its been a bone dry winter.

Jon

Chattanooga, TN(Zone 7b)

jon, looking at the leaves of your mac n cheese, i'd think it may have a touch of either gray mold or mildew. take a leaf in to your extension office or a nursery and get a diagnosis.

'fanned' means you run an extra fan in the greenhouse, like a oscillating house fan, directed at the plants to give them extra air circulation.

it has to be a challenge to get the water right. may i make a suggestion? put them on a string watering system. run a polypro cord (i get mine at the camping section at walmart and mostly used them for propagating brugmansia) through the watering hole on the bottom of the pot, half of it in the pot and the other half hanging out. then set the pot on top of a tupperware (those onetime use ones with the tops work great) filled with water and let the string hang down into the water. set the whole contraption into a larger decorative pot, refill the bottom container as needed.

Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

amore - That 'tiki torch' is beautiful - I need one of those for my "hot" orange and yellow border. And you are quite into this if you've grown so many nice plants from seed and have only been gardening 2 yrs. Great job! Obviously you're in the right hobby.

GreenT - I did not have very good luck with Cherry Brandy seeds either. I grew some of them under lights in the basement and others outside, winter sowing. I got (yeah, drumroll is right!), 4 plants, only one of which was big enough to put in the garden. The other 3 are still being babied. Disappointing results but I'm hoping the end will be worth it.

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Thanks cedar18 and you're right...I'm into it. The only drawback has been that I've had to grow so many different things to find a few things I really like. You know how it goes. Some don't make it, some don't grow well and some don't look like you think they will. At least every once in awhile you find something new or unaware of that makes it all worth it.
Jon

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

I've had excellent luck with my Cherry Brandy Rudbeckias. I got the seeds from Harris Seeds. Almost all germinated and are growing in the garden now. I winter sowed them, however.

That Mac 'N Cheese Echinacea looks very weak. They don't seem to grow well at all. You can plant a regular old coneflower and it'll have multiple blooms the first year. These new orange and yellow varieties are just not very strong plants, especially the first year. I read that keeping the blooms removed would help them establish, but who wants to risk not seeing the blooms as they often don't return the second year? Are you going to remove that bloom or leave it? I was wondering if any of you had tried this the first year with any of these new echinaceas.

Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

Echi- I think I saw on another thread (WS?) about your success and I'm envious. Mine came from Harris too, maybe the same mini-coop? When did you do your Wintersowing of them?

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

I usually remove the blooms and put them in a vase or just remove them when they are dying. Yes, the Mac N Cheese is not growing all that well. Only time will tell. I just assumed my Echinacea's don't grow much and/or struggle because I'm trying to grow them here in Zone 10. Most of them die back somewhat for me during our winters but then bounce back in Feb and March. The weakest Echinacea for me have been the green colored ones and the white ones. Here's a photo from today of Echinacea "Harvest Moon" starting in on its second season.

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Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

And this is Echinacea "Green Jewel" from today just starting it's second season. It looked dead about a month ago but I just left it there and it has started to come back.

Jon

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Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

Jon, I have no idea what the growing 'schedule' would be in your zone for perennials, but I would guess they still go dormant. Maybe they don't completely disappear for you like most do further north.

Do you grow Sundown echi? Here's a thread I started last year with a problem I had with it:
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/878169/
I'd be interested in in how it does for you.

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

Jon,

Your Harvest Moon looks good. I had no luck with that plant here. It doesn't like our winters at all. What do you think of Green Jewel? I just got a Green Envy even though I swore I wouldn't get one. LOL.

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Thanks. Yes, winters are quite a bit different here. It hasnt snowed here in 33 years. I love the color of "Green Jewel" but it didn't grow much or bloom often last year. Only time will tell on this year. I have had one "Green Envy" since last year and it has only bloomed about 4 times since last spring. I thought it was dead, but it has begun to show signs of life again in the past month. I actually bought another "Green Envy" about 3 weeks ago online just so that I can compare both plants and then make a better conclusion. Even your basic purple coneflower can be difficult in this climate down here. They all go through periods where they look great and then periods where they don't look so hot. The same can be said for Rudbeckia's down here.

Jon

Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

Sadly, Jon, if I lived there, the same could be said about me. That climate is pretty tough -- and I would be darn "difficult" there too. :) But you do marvelous things....:)

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Thanks ceder18. I really appreciate the kind words. It's such an upside down world when it comes to gardening down here. Many annuals can be grown down here in the winter and they begin dying right about now. Some annuals are actually perennials here because they will continue to bloom. Basically the definition of an annual up north is something that is killed by the beginning of cold weather and frost. An annual in South Florida would be something that is killed by the summer heat.
I do have an Echinacea "Sundown" and it's doing very well its its second season. I'll take a photo of it tomorrow. It's one of the few I have that even bloomed some during the winter. I read your thread and I also get silvering on the leaves of many of my Echinacea's. It usually occurs for me down here at any time from late fall-early spring. It doesn't seem to be any harm to the plant. Not sure if I should be doing this or not, but I've always just pruned those leaves off of the plant as it appears to always be on older/more mature leaves. It doesn't seem to be a mildew. Boy do I know mildew down here in the humid summer. I keep attempting to grow zinnias and they are basically "mildew magnets" down here. I think I need my head examined because I just planted some new zinnia seeds a couple of weeks ago!!! [email protected]

Jon

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Here's a photo from April 28, 2009 showing part of the front yard.

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Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

And one more taken that same morning.

Jon

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Chattanooga, TN(Zone 7b)

your front bed is lovely. is that fanfare? how do the gaillardias do in your area during the summer?

you know - there's a brugmansia or two missing!

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Thanks. Yes that is Gaillardia "Fanfare" in the second picture. There are two other Gaillardia's in the first picture. Gaillardia "Goblin" is in the front and Gaillardia "Oranges & Lemons" is torward the back on the left. In the back of the house there are a few more Gaillardia's (Amber Wheels, Burgundy, Golden Goblin and Ring Of Fire). There is one Brugmansia in the back yard but I can't recall which cultivator. Gaillardia are one of the best performers down here, but for some reason I rarely see them available for purchase at nurseries and garden centers. They bloom non stop 12 months of the year, but they have to be pruned back often so they don't completely flop over. Believe it or not, the three varieties you can see in the pictures are only one plant of each variety.

Jon

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

Jon,

I love your Gaillardias too! This is my first year having them. I'm growing Goblin and it's getting all the attention right now. It stayed green all winter. It had a foot of snow on top of it in February and when the snow melted they were still green. They are in full bloom now. I planted them from seeds last year. I must plant more! I have had more people stop and ask what plant that is by my driveway.

Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

Great photos Jon. I have not had good luck with Gaillardia: Fanfare did not overwinter for me but I've bought Oranges & lemons this spring. Hope springs eternal.

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Many thanks. The Gaillardia's are THE plant more people ask me about down here since most people down here appear to have never seen them before. The toughest one for me to maintain/keep going down here has been "Oranges & Lemons". I think it may be more sensitive to our humid summer suns intensity and it took me 3 attempts to get one to make it through our summers. Nice to hear that you grew your "Goblin" from seed echinaceamaniac. They seem to take a good 6 months from seed to get to flowering, but they're well worth it. I just ordered one variety that I've wanted for a long time (Gaillardia "Summer's Kiss") but can be difficult to find. It's an apricot/gold colored one. There is also a new Gaillardia "Sunburst Series" that came out this year, but I don't have any of these (Sunburst Scarlet Halo, Sunburst Tangerine, Sunburst Burgundy Picotee). Here's a photo from this morning of my first blooms on Gaillardia "Ring Of Fire". They are larger sized blooms on long sturdy stems.

Jon

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Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Hi ceder 18. Here's a photo of my Echinacea "Sundown" from this morning. It seems to be doing ok starting in on its second season. The blooms open up kind of red for me and then durn more of an orange color.

Jon

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Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

And here's my first bloom on a fairly new Gerbera Daisy named "Giant Spinner Lemon & Cerise". It's a huge sized blooming Gerbera.

Jon

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Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

Jon, I'm ready to come live in your garden. Everything looks so lush and healthy. You must feed them carrot juice. :)

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Hmm, I've never heard of that before. I'm finding out that the best way to keep things healthy is to pick up/pick off the dead stuff every couple of days. From doing some reading many articles state that pests tend to choose to settle into area with decay and look for weak plants. I really do believe that because when I go away for a week or so many times I tend to see some kind of problem when I get back.
Jon

Portland, TX(Zone 9a)

I agree with what you said about picking off dead stuff and keeping things healthy. I always notice that bugs seem to gravitate toward plants that are getting old like annuals that are coming to the end of the season or blooms that are brown and dead. I try to keep stuff deadheaded and pick up any decaying foliage or blooms too.

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Here's Echinacea "Harvest Moon" and "Tiki Torch" from yesterday.

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Chattanooga, TN(Zone 7b)

jon, you definitely have a green thumb, tose look fantastic. what geranium is growing next to the harvest moon?

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

I do love that color of Tiki Torch....my White Swan is getting buds so should have something in bloom soon...it's been sooooo long!

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

Jon,

I got my Mac 'N Cheese and Milkshake Echinaceas in the mail yesterday! I planted the Mac 'N Cheese right by my Tomato Soup. I'll post pics when they get going.

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Thanks much. Oh believe me, I have plenty of failures also!!! The plant growing/blooming next to the Echinacea "Harvest Moon" is a "Blue Mirror" Delphinium. It has purple/neon blue colored flowers. For some reason all of the white colored Echinacea have been challenging for me. I do have an Echinacea "Purity" that is looking much more promising this year. Only time will tell.

Jon

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Nice to hear echinaceamaniac. Nothing like getting some new stuff. I wasn't familiar with "Milkshake" so I looked it up. Very nice. I'd like to purchase "Tangerine Dream" but I haven't been able to find it anywhere online.

Jon

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

I planted seeds of all my coneflowers last year. I had this cool one with yellow blooms which turn orange and then red. It would have orange, red and yellow blooms all at the same time. I left it out in the garden all winter. I'm hoping it returns. You can get some very interesting plants by saving seeds from all of these new varieties.

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

Wow...NOW that would be cool!!

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