June 1, 2010

Penstemon in the east

It's starting to look more like the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado, than a central Massachusetts garden but for whatever reason, the Penstemon that somehow were planted in our raised rock wall, * which probably came from a rock garden society seedling plant sale, or something similar) are blooming this June. We delight in their brief display, for these are plants which are notoriously challenging in gardens east of the Rockies.

Various hybrid Penstemon ( or Bearded Tongue) bloom in the raised rock wall along the greenhouse. Long lost labels mean little when such precious plants bloom for us in the east, where Penstemon are rare and treasured, for there is nothing most Penstemon hate most, than the hot, humid summers such as those encountered in the eastern United States.

True alpine species of Penstemon are some of the most desirable of alpine plants, but most are ungrowable in humid and wet garden in the eastern US. Here, a Penstemon abietinus blooms for us on June 1, in the crevice garden, where it tumbles over the rocks and gravel.

Penstemon pinifolius survives, only in our rock crevice garden where it grows in a tight crack of granite. Still, a poor specimen of a species which in a western dry garden, might be more impressive, P. pinifolius in both its red and yellow form, is growable in eastern US gardens.

1 comment :

  1. PENSTEMONS! Truly the most beautiful and most delicate things to pop up in June.

    Living in Utah, they are amazingly easy for us to grow. All we have to do is usually scatter seeds and let nature do all the work and watering. For transplants, all one needs to do is dig and water. And yet most of the population tries to make their gardens look like the green, fat, lushnesss of the gardens of the eastern US and Europe.

    Try P. cyananthus or Wasatch Penstemon. It can take more mesic conditions if the soil is fast draining.


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