June 12, 2012

The Winners: Penstemon and Flax

Bed of penstemon and flax
Next to our driveway, behind a stone retaining wall, is a demanding place to grow flowers. The soil is thin, and the site, which faces WSW, bakes in the afternoon sun.

Various plants, even succulents, have failed on that site. Two survive, however.

One is a purplish-blue penstemon, I forget which variety, which has established itself and even survived last summer's drought, although it was happier this spring.

Gardening sites talk about stratifying the seeds, but I just let it seed itself in the fall, which seems to work best for wildflowers.

The other is a blue flax, and I forget where I got it. Plants of the Southwest?

Here is how it looks on a grand scale. We've encouraged it to spread by tossing seed around.

Yes, they still need watering, but their ability to take the heat, wind, and dryness is impressive.

If I had room for a big flower bed, I would just grow every variety of penstemon that I could lay my hands on.

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