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Add enchantment to your summer garden with this plant

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Penstemon 'Delft Blue Riding Hood'

WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT

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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.

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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.

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