It’s the native Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).
It’s been in gardens as long as I can remember. When I was a child, we had a long flower border that divided the front yard with its well-cared for croquet lawn from the back yard with the vegetable gardens, my sandbox and swing, the clothes line, the garbage can, and the garage. The border contained mostly what other people had given to my grandmother, whose house it was before it was my parent/s house. There were a few Purple Coneflowers, which were then classified as Rudbeckia, rather than Echinacea. Sharing the garden were Field Daisies, Hollyhocks, Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris, Creeping Buttercup, Poppies, Peonies, and the Firecracker Plant, so-named because it’s red pom-pom flowers resembled lady firecrackers.
One cannot walk anyplace on my property without seeing a patch of Purple Coneflowers. I believe it was Marianne Nelson who gave me a few plants many years ago and they have multiplied, flourishing throughout the gardens.
My house, 2007. Purple Coneflower and Joe Pye Weed (Echinacea purpurea) are the best butterfly attractants in my gardens.
2008 Midwest Groundcovers. The spikes of Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ in the background contrast nicely with the daisies of Purple Coneflower.
Midwest Groundcovers again. Purple Coneflower and a white Echinacea purpurea. Prairie Petunia (Ruellia humilis) in the foreground.
2009 Prairie Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden
2009 Front foundation planting at a house west of Dundee. Prairie Baby’s Breath (Euphorbia corollata) in the foreground, Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) in back.
2014 Red Admiral on Purple Coneflower in my garden.
Combine Purple Coneflower with Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) and Summer Beauty Onion (Allium ‘Summer Beauty) for a striking picture. My son and daughter-in-law’s garden.
2014 my yard again. Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) adds pizazz to any planting.
2015 My side yard. Purple Coneflower with Showy Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia speciosa var. sullivantii).
Are Purple Coneflowers really native to our area? I’ve never seen one in the wild. The answer is yes; they are found in Bur Oak savannas or in railroad prairie remnants, according to Plants of the Chicago Region.
What about your gardens? Do you grow Purple Coneflower? What are its companions?