Montreal, the New World’s largest French-speaking city, is celebrating a milestone anniversary this year: its 375th. And for the occasion, the City of Montreal has chosen a floral emblem: the ‘De Montréal’ purple coneflower (Echinacea ‘De Montréal’).
The new cultivar was developed by Quebec plant hybridizer Serge Fafard of Jardins Osiris. It’s an upright, robust and long-lived echinacea, about 2 ½ to 3 feet (75–90 cm) tall and 2 feet (60 cm) wide. The large blooms have a triple row of ray flowers and change in color through the season, starting orange, then turning more and more pink over time, although often retaining an orange halo around the central orange disc.
Flowering begins in July and continues until September. The flowers attract bees and butterflies throughout the summer and, if you leave the flowers left standing after the bloom, seed-eating birds in winter.
Echinacea ‘De Montreal’ will grow best full sun in any well-drained soil. It is solidly hardy in zone 4 and worth trying in zone 3.
Where to Find It
Well, if you want to see it in person, go to Montreal this summer: it will be everywhere. Some 8,000 plants of this new echinacea were produced for the 2017 season and the City of Montreal has planted them in parks and public places throughout its territory as well as in the Montreal Botanical Garden.
The official unveiling of the new emblem, in the presence of ‘De Montréal’ echinaceas specially forced for early bloom, will take place on the first day of the Great Gardening Weekend at the Montreal Botanical Garden, that is on Friday, May 26, 2017. Please note that to mark the 20th anniversary of the Great Gardening Weekend and Montreal’s 375th anniversary, access to the event will be free for all visitors that day. The activity will continue on May 27 and 28 at the usual rate.
Plants will be on sale at the Botanical Garden boutique for the occasion. Some garden centers already offer them, especially those in the Montreal area.
When will it reach nurseries where you live? That may take a few years. But do be on the lookout for this new hardy perennial!
Happy birthday, Montreal!