25 May 2014

Garden-Worthy Penstemmons

New Plants and Flowers highlighted five strong garden-worthy Penstemons to add to our gardens.  Two have been around since 1999, one since 2007 and two more are being released to the market this year.


Why grow Penstemons?
Susan Geer's online reference "Native Penstemons in Our Gardens" says,
"In the book The Gardener's Guide to Growing Penstemons, David Way and Peter James correctly point to abundance, color, and charm.. In most species, there is a profusion of blooms which can in some cases last all season. They exhibit a wide variety of colors, especially in shading and contrasting throat colors and markings. There is also a tremendous variety in floral shape and in the stature of the plants, and a charm in their carefree attitude. While other flowers in the garden languish in the heat or struggle in difficult soils, Penstemons thrive."


These are the five varieties that Plant Select pointed to

Red Rocks - Monrovia
‘Red Rocks’ (rosy-red flowers with white throat) and ‘Pike’s Peak Purple (violet-purple flowers with white throat) are hybrid penstemons selected from crosses between Mexican and American wild penstemons. The narrow, dark green leaves form an attractive mound. These crosses were made by Bruce Meyers (White Salmon, WA). He was according to Plant Select one of the earliest and most prolific breeders of these plants. Both were introduced in 1999.

Penstemon x mexicali ‘Psmyers’ Shadow Mountain (2007) is considered as a lavender-blue cousin to ‘Red Rocks’ and blooms from late spring through the summer.

Windwalker - PlantSelect
 ‘Windwalker garnet’ (2014) Plant Select says that the unique ruby-red or garnet-colored tubular flowers with striped throats bloom nearly all summer long above narrow, glossy green leaves, forming attractive mounds. This selection is a hybrid between Mexican and American wild penstemons developed by Kelly Grummons in Colorado.

‘Carolyn’s Hope’ (2014) has rich pink buds fade to medium pink flowers with white throat’ Cheerful pink, white-throated tubular flowers and dark pink buds above narrow, glossy green are attractive nearly all summer long. This hybrid between Mexican and American wild penstemons was developed in Colorado to raise funds to support breast cancer research at University of Colorado Cancer Center.
‘Windwalker garnet’ and ‘Carolyn’s Hope’ are also among the six winning plants of Plant Select ‘that thrive in a broad range of garden situations’.

“These penstemons are actually great for most gardeners, because they bloom nearly all summer, are adaptable to a wide range of garden conditions but also do well in containers, and don’t need a lot of water to stay looking healthy and full. The added bonus is that they’re great pollinator plants, too”, tells Plant Select in its newsletter. The purpose of Plant Select is to seek out, identify and distribute the best plants for landscapes and gardens from the intermountain region to the high plains.

I want some don't you?

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