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Palmer’s Penstemon

January 28, 2010

Over at the blog Clay and Limestone, Gail has an event calledWildflower Wednesday on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

For Wildflower Wednesday I’m focusing on penstemon palmeri or Palmer’s Penstemon, a native plant to Utah and much of the western U.S. I can plant in the native soil and it is happy as can be. This penstemon can be short lived, but I find that deadheading almost all of the flower stalks (leaving a couple to collect seed) seems to keep it returning year after year.

penstemon palmeri

The flowers are these pale pink numbers perfectly sized for a big fat ole bumble bee and the bees do make use of them.   The stripes inside the flower look like an airport runway telling those pollinators “land here” to get the good stuff.

In full bloom it can get over five feet tall.  This penstemon has a sweet fragrance that carries on the air.

Another wonderful feature of this penstemon is the evergreen foliage.  Here is Palmer’s penstemon last march.

And below is a picture I took this morning.

pestemon palmeri in winter

In my sister’s xeriscape below she has it planted near Rocky Mountain penstemon and ephedra viridis and many other native goodies.  Palmer’s penstemon grows very well with only the water from the sky.

Penstemon palmeri reseeds in the garden, though never enough to annoy- just enough to get new plants which transplant easily.    It is also easy to grow from seed.   I start them indoors in the window sill.  This penstemon does not seem to need pre-chilling like the seeds of many mountain penstemons.

Some great sources for seed are Plants of the Southwest and  Utahns can probably find the seed at good local nurseries. High Country Gardens is a source for mail order. So plant some Palmer’s penstemon and get a whiff of that fragrance for yourself.

Oops it is now Thursday.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 10:38 am

    Wow to your photos and wow to your blog! You seem to have the conditions that this nearly perfect Penstemon adores. Your whole garden is amazing, thanks for sharing it and joining my dear friend Gail with Wildflower Wednesday. 🙂

    • January 28, 2010 11:18 am

      Thank you Frances. I’m really trying to get the hang of this. I found the posts from your blog linked at the Garden Bloggers Idea Gallery at GGW very helpful, especially the choosing a platform one and also the camera one.

  2. January 28, 2010 1:50 pm

    what a fantastic post! I can see why you love this pestemmon~what a treasure and it has stature and is drought tolerant. Thank you so much for showing us your wonderful wildflower and beautiful garden! gail ps I soooooo wish I had the right conditions for Palmer to move to my garden! It would drown in the winter.

    • January 28, 2010 3:16 pm

      Thanks Gail. I had fun putting the post together will definitely want to participate in Wildflower Wednesday each month. Its funny how some plants are so climate specific and some are very adaptable. Palmer definitely likes it dry. I wish you could grow it just to experience the smell.

  3. kbike422 permalink*
    February 1, 2010 5:56 pm

    Love it Sis!

  4. February 3, 2010 11:55 am

    Oh My..your rainbow tribute is super gorgeous! Lovely! All the flowers are truly magical..especially the very last photo! Awesome!
    Kiki~Thanks for visiing my rainbow post too..yay!


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