|Echinacea 'Tomato Soup'|
|Echinacea 'Hot Papaya'|
Please, no more of the off-line colors, my stomach can't stand it. I WOULD like to find an easy source for 'Tiki Torch' as I believe I could use that orange in my garden, and I will admit to trying out 'Hot Papaya' last year (pictured at right), which is as far as I'll go in trying the new doubles. Not sure yet whether I'm very excited about this one, but I'll let it live a year or two yet. As far as purplish 'After Midnight' goes, we'll have to see.
For the rest of us, it's important to note that most of the new Echinacea have come from only four modern breeders. In 1968, Ronald McGregor suggested that interspecies crosses were possible, but it was Jim Ault of the Chicago Botanic Garden who put that theory into practice in the late 1990's crossing Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea paradoxa, Echinacea angustifoloia and others. Ault is responsible for most of the breakthrough colors. Richard Saul of Saul Nursery in Georgia created the Big Sky series with Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea paradoxa crosses. Dan Heims of Terra Nova is hard on their heels. Arie Blom of the Dutch nursery AB-Cultivars is responsible for many of the anemone double-flowered forms, for those who like them (I'm not in that group).
As for the future, who can tell. Right now I'm content to view the explosion of new garden varieties and either turn up my nose at them or bury my nose in a new, and often fragrant, bright blossom.