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Double Coneflowers – Meet the Breeder!

Arie Blom & Echinacea Hot Papaya

Breeder Arie Blom & his Hot Papaya Coneflower

I’d like to introduce you to the man behind many of the very BEST double-flowered Coneflowers currently in American gardens. He is our very good friend, Arie Blom of The Netherlands. Arie studied advanced plant breeding at the University of Florida and after receiving his graduate degree, he worked in a tissue culture laboratory in California before returning to Holland.

Arie is an extremely friendly guy and is passionate about his breeding work with Echinacea. I’ve had many opportunities to sit down and talk with Arie and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to visit his seedling fields this summer!

Arie began breeding Coneflowers in 2002 and started in his backyard. A few of his initial goals were to breed for very sturdy, vigorous garden plants with a heavy flowering tendancy.

Echinacea Pink Double Delight from Great Garden Plants

Echinacea Pink Double Delight

Echinacea Pink Double Delight was Arie’s very first introduction and he hit it out of the ballpark!

This bright double pink Coneflower has multitudes of large 2-3″ flowers held atop very strong stems that don’t flop in the dirt. Plants are very well branched and produce a flower show from mid-June until September!

Echinacea Coconut Lime from Great Garden Plants

Echinacea Coconut Lime

Arie’s second introduction was Echinacea Coconut Lime. His breeding goal was to produce a full double-white coneflower and he greatly succeeded!

Coconut Lime Coneflower is extremely floriferous with large 3″ flowers of white which turn a pleasant lime-green as they age. Its strong stems and heavy flower count make it a perfect subject for cut-flowers.

Many people don’t realize that DOUBLE Coneflowers will last over 2 weeks as cut flowers indoors. And, many are highly fragrant…which adds to the show!

Echinacea Hot Papaya from Great Garden Plants

Echinacea Hot Papaya

Then along comes the FIRST-EVER DOUBLE Orange Coneflower with Arie’s Echinacea Hot Papaya! WOW!

When I first saw Hot Papaya Coneflower, I could not believe how tremendously STRONG the stems were! They were like thick pencils! This interspecific cross (a cross between 2 species) has produced this amazingly colorful hybrid with its giant 3″ flowers of brilliant orange and fully double.

Hot Papaya Echinacea also has wonderfully fragrant flowers and I had them last over 18 days as CUT FLOWERS in our offices of Great Garden Plants.

I have the extreme privilege of calling Arie Blom my friend! He is a very passionate plantsman with a willingness to share with others!

Stay tuned NEXT WEEK when I’ll show you his BEST new Double Coneflower for 2011!!! You won’t be disappointed! Chris

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