Peonies and Coneflowers Cross Paths

More than a month since the first peony bloomed in my garden, I created a farewell to the season. It's the first time I've mixed peonies and Echinacea in the same arrangement; normally the peonies are long gone when the coneflowers start to bloom.
The coneflowers are 'Southern Belle', shown with Astilbe
Peony 'Elsa Sass', and Brunfelsia jamaicensis.

The peony in this arrangement is 'Elsa Sass', a late double form. I love using Astilbe in arrangements for its fragrance and long-lasting constitution. It's the first time I've used a cutting of Brunfelsia jamaicensis, a tropical shrub I've grown in a pot for several years. It needed to be shaped up a bit so I cut a stem of the fragrant flower for a drooping accent.

Speaking of accents, the stems of Itea 'Little Henry' I included in a recent arrangement are still as perky as ever three days later! I cut the stems before the flowers had opened completely, and let them cascade downward in the bouquet.
The spiky white flowers are from the shrub, Itea 'Little Henry'.
My garden is home to a wealth of coneflowers, including several that are new to me. I am trialing one called 'Butterfly Kisses' from Walters Gardens. This little cutie, from breeder Arie Blom, is described as an improved double pink, highly floriferous and compact. I planted three about a month ago amidst Oregano 'Kent Beauty', which fills out a sunny spot near the patio. It won't be long before the oregano begins to show its pinkish bracts. I'm anticipating a good color partnership. Meanwhile, 'Butterfly Kisses' is an energetic bloomer, even in its first year.

Echinacea 'Butterfly Kisses' is less than a foot tall.
I'm testing a few Echinaceas from Terra Nova Nurseries, including 'Supreme Elegance', 'Supreme Cantaloupe' and 'Supreme Flamingo'. They've just begun to open, and will take a couple more days before they form their tufted little topknots. 'Supreme Elegance' is just that in its early stage, with slender petals curved gracefully downward like Isadora Duncan's scarf (before it got caught in the car's wheel).
Echinacea 'Supreme Elegance' from Terra Nova Nurseries.
Echinacea 'Supreme Cantaloupe' is more traditional in form, less so in color. It's appropriate that a flower named for a tropical fruit would be reminiscent of a summer day. Unabashedly melon in color, it's liberated itself from its maiden name of purple coneflower. I can see some extra petals forming at the base of its cone, so there is more to come, but I wanted to include an untouched photo of this seriously orangey coneflower.
Echinacea 'Supreme Cantaloupe'

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