Jenny Lynn Keller
The Purple Coneflower Cafe
October means Fall is ramping up and gardens are slowing down. But no one told my purple coneflowers. On this beginning of Fall Southern-fried Friday, they’re defying nature by brightening up the browning landscape. Echinacea is the botanical name for coneflowers, and I had no idea they were highly valued for their medicinal qualities until I researched mountain herbal remedies for my historical romance novels. Long ago Native Americans discovered the plant’s roots helped wounds to heal, and today Echinacea is touted as an herbal supplement. Clinical trials support the claims of reducing cold and flu symptoms.
What do I enjoy about coneflowers? Warm weather blooms and cool weather seeds. Goldfinches and other small birds love to sit on the large dried seed cones and pluck out high protein nuggets. Nature’s equivalent to an all-you-can-eat buffet. When spring rolls around, I remove the barren stalks, throw them in the compost pile, and watch new plants emerge. Over the years, I’ve transplanted seedlings everywhere in my yard to increase the number of bird cafes. Like Ecclesiastes 3 says, there is “. . . a time to plant and a time to uproot . . . a time to keep and a time to throw away . . .” We have similar times in our lives too.
What is your favorite Fall activity?