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Day #5 – Rescuing the Echinacea

Some days’ work are just less exciting than others like today’s which simply involved weeding. Weeds wake early and always seem to have a toehold long before I have much interest in pulling them out. One particularly weed prone area is the region of our perrenial bed where our Echinacea (coneflower) are.

At one point we had echinacea angustifolia, echinacea pallida and echinacea purpurea though I would need to peek at a garden book to tell which is which right now.

Echinacea are one of the few flowers we get to grow. By that I mean that the general plan of our garden is that everything, well, nearly every thing is “useful,” that is, a plant used by someone at some time for food or medicine or some other practical purpose. (Even the old lilac bush, I’m told had a purpose since it was supposedly located next to the outhouse.) Other folks make gardens with only one color like those grey-green “moon light” gardens while other folks specialize in different varieties of the same plant. Ours is a kitchen garden that we’ve tried to make as pleasant to look at as possible. One way is to somewhat stretch our concept a bit to get a few flowers. So though the Romans used the roots of Valerian as a sedative, we don’t intend to. I know that Echinacea tea is supposed to be a popular herbal remedy… but I don’t even know which portion is supposed to be used. And according to the wikipedia article, it doesn’t sound llike I’m alone.

The Plan: We had let this little area go, not just this year but last year too, so long that it almost felt like a psychological block. We decided to see how much 20 minutes of focused weeding could accomplish.

The major enemy that we fought was something I thought was called was “witchgrass” but now that I settle down to investigate, it doesn’t resemble any of the descriptions of that plant. Suffice to say the our adversary here was some kind of grass that sent long spear-sharp “roots” sometimes out a foot or two under the mulch or soil before they erupted into another plant. It was delicate kind of destruction to pull these long strands out.

But it was worth the effort. In addition to rescuing several tiny echinacea plants, we found a little patch of garlic chives and a little stand of valerian.

Posted in • Growing.