Kathy Van Mullekom
May 6, 2010
Yum, yum. Mac 'n' Cheese and Tomato Soup, the names for coneflowers, make you think of good things to eat.
In reality they are because the butterflies in your garden will like sipping their nectar.
The coneflowers — a stunning golden and tomato-red color, respectively — will be among the rare and unusual plants for sale at Norfolk Botanical Garden's Mother's Day weekend plant sale from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Coneflowers are the easiest, most rewarding perennials you can grow in a garden, and their flat flower surfaces provide perfect perches for butterflies. Full of flowers throughout the summer, coneflowers grow in the ground or a container. Give them full sun, consistent moisture and well-draining soil. Coneflowers grow 24 to 40 inches tall, so plant them in the center or the back of a flowering bed. Deadhead, or remove old blooms to encourage new buds. Late summer, let the flowers form seed heads as a source of natural food for migrating songbirds.
Other unique plants at the botanical garden's sale include Edgy Hearts hydrangea with pinkish-red flowers edged in white; 40 different names cultivates of Japanese iris; pagoda flower with clusters of scarlet flowers; coral honeysuckle for hummingbirds; Cranberry Crush hibiscus with near black buds; Rosa Oso Easy Flower Carpet rose with single, pink fragrant flowers; and summersweet with mid-summer, fragrant white flowers.
Admission to the plant sale is free with garden admission. The 155-acre botanical garden is located on Azalea Garden Road, adjacent to Norfolk International Airport. The Virginia Camellia and Tidewater Rose societies sell their plants all weekend; the Virginia Native Plant Society sells native species on Saturday. For details, visit www.norfolkbotanicalgarden.org or call 441-5830.
You also can find the coneflowers at local garden centers, including Countryside Gardens in Hampton; call 722-9909.