In the mid-seventies, Lorne Michaels created the variety show which has been known as SNL or Saturday Night Live for most of its 38 seasons. The show's success has been due in large part to the trifecta of popular guest hosts, creative sketch writers, and a rotating ensemble of talented comedian-actors. For many, the hay-day of the show was in its first decade, with the likes of Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, and Laraine Newman, with frequent appearances by Steve Martin.
One of the most popular sketches to air during that early era of the show was The Coneheads. An alien family with tall, pointed heads, trying to assimilate into the ways of Earthlings, Aykroyd played the role of Beldar, the father, while Curtain played Prymaat, the mother, and their other-worldly daughter was played by Newman. They were a highly unusual looking family with odd manners, yet they worked to blend in and few who called on them made mention of their un-earthly ways. The Coneheads provided nonsensical humor while illustrating the relatable challenges of a couple raising a teenager and handling whatever live threw at them.
In the world of horticulture, a colorful cast of characters has also been assembled that are delightfully uncommon. These flowers, known as Coneheads ... uh ... Coneflowers; are a whimsical ensemble from the Asteraceae family. Having originated mainly in the North American plains, coneflowers have traveled through time and landed in foreign soils on the east and west coasts of the United States. Coneflower varieties have taken great strides to inconspicuously fit in to container and flower gardens, inhabited by many other annuals and perennials. But their playful boldness makes them hard to ignore, and leaves the most unaware of garden admirers doing a double-take.
'Cheyene Spirit' One great example of a stand-out perennial coneflower is Echinacea Purpurea. Some Echinacea making pointed statements with their heady form are 'Kim's Knee High' and 'Cheyenne Spirit.' Their daisy-like petals broadcast bold color atop strong stems ranging 2'-4' in height. When mature, the blooms' petals point downward, giving accent to the flowers' cone shaped head. The combination of color, shape, and height draw added attention among more petite flowering plants.
Other uncommonly delightful Echinacea include 'Magnus' and 'Ruby Star.' The aptly named 'Magnus' can be a 4' growing stem with an almost perfect petal form of lavender or rose-pink. The seeded head of this coneflower, has a coppery coloring and is known to attract song birds. 'Ruby Star' makes its mark with a slightly more flat, but no less impressive conehead and more reddish-purple petals.
Rudbekia 'Goldstrum' A relative to Echinacea are Rudbeckia. The most recognized member of this coneflower group is 'Black Eyed Susan.' Like a miniature sunflower, with a dark brown head and gold glowing petals, 'Black Eyed Susan' and her counterparts 'Early Bird Gold' and 'Goldstrum' are like sunshine held captive and released one bloom at a time. And to top it off, Echinacea and Rudbeckia bloom from summer through fall. So when your neighbors or your customers are wondering what is curiously wonderful and delightfully uncommon about the perennials you've planted; you can confidently know that you are host to Coneheads ... uh ... Coneflowers. Come see us at our Garden Center or Nursery locations for Wise perennial and annual selections.
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