This is Ethel's Echinacea. It's not an official name, but they're in my garden so I get to call them what I want.
These flowers are a gift from the garden of my friend Ethel, and they are thriving in this garden by the back deck, with the rudbekia transplanted last year, and the phlox transplanted this year -- saved, in fact, from being crushed by the effort to move the greenhouse. There's also honeysuckle clumping up in there.
On the right in the photo are the Stella daylilies planted in memory of my dog, Stella. I can't remember which Stella's they are but they are a darker red than I expected. That's how it goes with gardens; you never know what is going to pop up, what is going to thrive, what is going to bloom one year and never show up again.
Audrey Hepburn said, "To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow."
Here's a little announcement related to this two-level back deck: next year, Ethel's Echinacea will be overlooking my kitchen garden. This fall - or even as soon as the heat wave ends - we are going to tear off the lower deck and start the work to transform it into a space that will grow herbs and other kitchen gardeny things. My winter project will be figuring that out.
We're also going to create the space for a salsa garden where we will grow the tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and green & yellow peppers that go into Rose's Salsa (recipe from my friend Rose).
What would I do without my gardening friends??
"Friends are flowers in the garden of life."
A word about the lighting of that photo of Ethel's Echinacea. I was watering at sunset last night, the sun going down as it does over the far trees at the edge of the field. But the opposite sky was full of grey clouds -- teasing me about the possibility of rain -- and this combination turned the light pinky and orangey, depending on the moment.
When I saw the light on Ethel's Echinacea, I wanted to capture it. Every blossom coming out, thriving, offering its healing and its hope. Keeping me in the pink.