28 March 2012 - 9:11pm

The generosity of penstemons

A lovely day in the garden at Charnwood today potting on penstemon cuttings for the plant stall when we open on 6/7 May. These are such generous plants, they flower and flower all through the summer and into the autumn. One of the best is 'Firebird' - the colour of crushed raspberries. Also Blackbird (pictured) - gorgeous pink/purple flowers, quite tall for a penstemon at around 90cm, but absolutely beautiful. I have it with Rose' Tuscany Superb, a similar colour and a gorgeous, fragrant companion. There is a bird theme going on here you may have noticed, Raven is another good variety. They tend to be in the pink/purple colour scheme so fit well in most borders.

Penstemons are dead easy from cuttings in late summer, but worth a try at almost any time of year. They are reputed to be a bit tender, but they survive in our midlands garden through all but the worst winters. If you cut them hard back about now to young growth at the base they will stay young and vigorous and flower well. They tend to run out of steam after 3 or 4 years, but hey, so would I if I performed that well!