Noticed as qualifying for the newly begun series of Perfect Matches posts recently was the combination of purple coneflower, Echinacea ssp. and black eyed susans, Rudbeckia fulgida growing in our North Carolina garden.
This is a second home for us, the main residence being in Southeast Tennessee. The gardening conditions are similar between the two, USDA Zone 7a, sloping property, acid soil. Plants go back and forth over the Smoky Mountains from one garden to the other.
There is one really major difference however between these two sites, the North Carolina garden gets almost no attention from the gardener. It is a plant it and forget it type maintenance plan there, since I am only there about once a month, at best, and don’t always have time to garden anyway. Faced with a blank slate, the decision was made to use all natives there, for those are much more dependable at growing without human interference, good or bad. So far, so good.
The colorful flowers of Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea tenneseensis ‘Rocky Top’ and Rudbeckia fulgida have been beacons of beauty since early May. Only in the ground one year, they have already filled in and seeded about, mingling with the tall Panicums that inhabit the front bed which runs along the street.
It is heartening to see how well this garden is faire-ing without me, but by contrast the garden in Tennessee, the one that gets so much tweaking and fussing over looks sadly lacking in vigor. It may be the soil differences, the amount of rainfall, the topography or it might be the all native aspect that gives the North Carolina garden the edge.
Using fewer varieties of high quality natives makes for an easy care and attractive garden. That is something difficult for a serial collector of plants to swallow, but it may be the garden of my future, wherever that might be.
The votes have been counted, coneflowers and susans are not only a perfect match, they are perfect for a nearly no maintenance native-based garden.
More Perfect Matches: