Having missed an end of May report, I am compelled to record some of the special garden joys of early June.
Recently Annette wondered about the white flower she was expecting on her Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’. I assured her these plants do have white flowers and promised to follow through with a planned post to show how these penstemon are looking in my own garden.
I planted Husker Red penstemon in the meditation circle as an evergreen choice for a section of the “wall.” It has thrived, reseeding freely, enabling me to establish new plantings throughout the borders and to pass along specimens to friends.
Other penstemon planted in the labyrinth at the same time have not fared as well. One of my favorite colors, this purple one is called Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’. Of a dozen or so plants only this one remains in the meditation circle, but last summer I was able to transplant a piece into the northern border.
Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’ was added last year and has done great this spring.
Bees love these penstemons. They also have been enjoying tradescantia, foxgloves, Verbena bonariensis, echinacea and recently blooming Blue Sky salvia.
Bees really love Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear). It will soon need cutting back but I hate to when the bees are so enamored of it.
I like Echinacea in early summer. The flowers are fresh and take on so many forms before finally opening their petals. In the background at right is the meditation circle with Husker Red penstemon blooming. I also planted Angelonia in white and purple for color throughout the summer.
Here are more echinacea with explosions of pink flowers from Red Rocks Penstemon in the distance.
A pass-along dahlia overwintered successfully and began blooming this week. (Thank you Libby!)
The dwarf oak leaf hydrangea has finally put on its first big floral display after taking several years to get established.
My favorite pass-along old-fashioned rose had a few new flowers this week. Unfortunately I spotted a Japanese beetle on one. Those haven’t been a problem in several years.
Three of five August Beauty gardenias survived near the northwest gate, where they were planted to provide a screen for the air conditioning units. It has taken them much longer than expected to grow but with the heavy rainfall this spring they finally look healthy and are blooming.
And finally to close I leave you with some favorite photographs of a second purple gladiolus that opened this week. The sunlight coming in from behind made the centers of the flowers glow like fire.
I was just looking at my ‘Husker Red’ and wondering when they would be ready to bloom. Yours look great, and you have a couple of other species that are lovely. My Ohio Spiderwort has flower buds but no flowers yet.
Hope your ‘Husker Red’ shows off well for you this year Jason. Here it has been blooming since about May 11. I suspect my spiderwort is Virginia spiderwort, but as it was a pass-along, I don’t know for sure and haven’t been able to match it through pictures. It is beautiful this year but very aggressive.
Ohio Spiderwort makes clumps, and spreads a bit by seed. Not as aggressive as the Virginia species.
A truly lovely selection of blooms, Penstemon Husker Red is a star! I usually take cuttings of my penstemons in case they don’t survive the winter, they are so easy to do and strike in no time at all. Your Gladiolus is amazing with the sun behind it, you were in the right place at the right time!
Thank you Pauline for the tip about taking cuttings. Should have thought to do that with the purple penstemon. I love the garden for little special moments like the one where the sun lit put the gladiolus.
Thanks for posting the pictures of ‘Husker Red’ – I don’t know it and read that comment of Annette’s. Amazing that it self-sows with you! And I do love Echinacea – great the way you have captured them unfurling.
Cathy, I do recommend giving ‘Husker Red’ a try. It’s been blooming almost 4 weeks and here is evergreen. The echinacea is off to a good start this summer.
I will definitely try it Susie – lovely to have met it now, so thanks!
Lovely post Susie, your garden in June is joyous. I tried to grow an Oak leaf Hydrangea from cuttings and have failed, seeing yours makes me want to try again, its a stunner.
Thanks Julie. Rain has made all the difference this year in keeping everything lush. Hope your next Oak leaf Hydrangea cutting will be happy!
What lovely June blooms you have Susie. They look like late summer plants for UK gardens. My ‘Ugly Nose’ Salvia blooms in August. I love the Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’, it’s a real gem.
‘Blue Sky’ sounds much more marketable than ‘Ugly Nose’. This salvia will bloom here well into October. Nice for that but it’s very aggressive and I have to be hard-hearted with it and pull out most of it.
I’m full of questions after viewing your beautiful garden. In the third photo, do you know the name of the plant on the right? Do you stake your Dahlias and Gladiolas? Have you found a plant marker you are happy with or do you just remember all the names? You are truly surrounded by beauty. 🙂
Hi Judy, fun questions. That red-stemmed plant in the photo with red and green leaves is a Husker Red penstemon. Last year I staked that Dahlia; this year I hadn’t remembered to and it’s already falling over after a huge thunderstorm two days ago. The gladiolas I don’t stake. For some reason the stalks this year are very erect even after the storms, but that’s not always the case. I’ve tried various plant markers but don’t know what happens to them. I don’t remember the names completely, but since blogging I’ve accumulated a full inventory of plants in my garden, just in a text file. Now when I buy or am given plants I add them to the list and record when and where I got them. Also note where I planted them. When I label my images I use that file to help me remember the names. The garden was beautiful this spring and still manages to hold on to some magic–as long as the rains keep coming.
The Penstemons are beautiful, I had several but they have disappeared I’m not sure if it was through cold or lack of water. Your garden looks full of colour and it must be lovely that it is all lasting longer than last year. The gladiolus is a fabulous colour, with the light behind it it really does have s heart of fire
I’ve read penstemons don’t like much water but mine are much better this year from all the rain. The rains are precious. I was so discouraged with the garden last year when you visited that have scarcely done any work in it this year. No amount of hand-watering could make it happy last year, so it’s bittersweet to see it thriving now.
I know just what you mean Susie.
But despite the lack of rain last year your garden had s lovely peaceful atmosphere. I am hoping I can remain positive if it is very hot this year.
Your garden is gorgeous! I like the blue salvia and have tried to grow that color several times with no luck. I’ll enjoy yours.
Thank you. The blue salvia spreads and runs about through my garden, but is fairly easy to pull out. Always a bit left though and the cycle starts again.
Your garden is full of lovely things, Susie. I haven’t tried Penstemon ‘Huskers Red’ in my current garden but seeing yours makes me think I should, although Penstemons in general haven’t done particularly well here. Even ‘Margarita Bop’, a California native, lasted only a couple of years.
Penstemons are listed as prairie plants that thrive in heat, but mine do best when there is decent rainfall. I’ll have to check out your ‘Margarita Bop’.
Your summer garden always looks gorgeous Susie, and the penstemon are a lovely addition, even if they don’t always return. How lovely to see the Echinacea blooming! I fear mine have all succumbed to the snails this year in the damp we have had.
Thanks Cathy. Hope the snails leave you a few Echinacea this year. It’s frustrating to have such pests. I’ve noticed more snails and a few slugs this year, something not usually an issue, but it’s been very wet.
I am envious of your penstemon, I lost all mine in our last cold winter.
Heartbreaking to lose plants to the cold.