I love these purple coneflowers and so do the butterflies. I started this wildflower garden probably 13 years ago with a few packets of wildflower seeds. The problem with some of those packets is that some of the flowers are only annuals and obviously not suited to surviving Minnesota winters, so after a few years only the hardiest of these wildflowers are still brightening up my backyard. For the first few years, I added some more packets of different flowers and even some plants from pots as I expanded this wildflower garden.
In previous comments, some people asked whether I weed this garden. When I first started it, I weeded it a little bit, but as you can see from the photo above, there's no need for weeding anymore! And the flowers are so tall and those flower centers are so prickly that it would actually be hazardous to try and bend down into them anymore. Sometimes in the spring I will burn off portions, but I always worry about little critters that might be living in the duff below the flowers, so I don't even do that regularly.
Now it's dominated by purple coneflowers, prairie coneflowers, and brown-eyed Susans. Also doing well is Joe-Pye weed, Queen Anne's Lace and Canada Goldenrod. I have a couple of Evening Primroses blooming this year and a couple years ago I had one plant of Rough Blazing Star that the Monarch butterflies absolutely adored.
That plant never came back but it's on my wish list for plants I still want to add to this garden.
Once fall gets closer and the coneflowers have finished blooming for the summer, the asters will take over and those really attract the butterflies! I have pink, purple and white and I'll try to remember and do a post (with pictures) once they start blooming in September.
I took some pictures the other day just to show you the variety of sizes, colors, and shapes of the purple coneflowers in my backyard.
There are tiny ones
And HUGE ones
Some have a classic "daisy" appearance
While others have droopier petals
Here are some with flat centers and cone-shaped centers
I even have one sort of pathetic white coneflower! I think the poor thing is overwhelmed by all the purple coneflowers, but it always produces a few blooms every year.
While I was out photographing coneflowers, I happened to notice this Eastern Forktail (male). What a cool little damselfly! See the green stripes on his sides and shoulders? And you can't really tell from this photo, but that blue spot on the end of his tail was glowing like a bright blue LED in the sunlight.
My dragonfly field guide tells me these are most commonly found at "small, well-vegetated ponds," so I was delighted to see find this little guy visiting my wildflowers.
P.S. Three more monarchs hatched in the "ranch" today! I'm so glad I have all these wildflowers as a perfect spot to release these monarchs for starting their new life.
P.P.S. If any of you are interested in seeds from some of my flowers, please send me an e-mail (address on my profile page) and let me know your mailing address. I will also have lots of common milkweed seeds again this year and would be more than happy to send you seeds from any of the plants mentioned in this post.