PLANT OF THE WEEK
Penstemon 'Delft Blue Riding Hood'
WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT
Penstemons are handsome, intensely flowered plants in the ground as well as superb container plants. Most years they are extremely hardy from Zone 5 up. The elegance of the long stems and the perky little snapdragon-like blooms are a source of enchantment for many summer weeks. If you have a cutting garden, this is a must-have plant.
WHERE TO PLANT IT
Choose a hot, dry spot you don't know what to do with and pop in a penstemon from this series of Red, Delft Blue and Purple Riding Hood cultivars. Penstemon is a variation on a well-bred native plant. It doesn't seed about or escape from gardens. Make sure the drainage is good.
Bright sun to some shade and a thick feed of compost will help it along.
WHAT IT OFFERS
Thick, glossy green foliage and red, purple or blue blooms like the one pitctured. Add a few Euphorbia 'Frosted Diamonds' and a couple of drippy Ipomea 'Blackie' and you have an instant, easy pot design.
In a ground border, give it space. It will quickly bulk out in a clump 60 centimetres high and 75 centimetres wide. It blooms for weeks and will attract butterflies, making it an important plant for the garden's ecological system.
SOURCE AND COST
Get it for $24.95 at garden suppliers such as Plant World (www.plantworld.net or 416-241-9174).
For more plant and garden information, visit www.marjorieharris.com.