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Two Great Perennials - Lavender and Penstemon
If I were to write a new verse to the song ‘These Are a Few of My Favorite Things’ it would definitely include penstemon and lavender. Both are low maintenance, beautiful, long blooming perennials with showy flowers. They like full sun, well-drained soil and need little water.
Fragrant lavenders go well in herb gardens, perennial beds and can be used as an informal hedge. English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) grows 3-4 feet high and wide, has long narrow leaves and flowers. French Lavender (L. dentata) grows to 3 feet with narrow gray-green leaves and short tufted flower spikes. Spanish Lavender (L. stoechas) is a more compact plant, growing 1-2 feet tall with dark purple flowers in dense short spikes.
There are over 250 species of Penstemon. Most bloom off and on from spring to late fall. ‘Elfin Pink’, ‘Prairie Dusk’ and ‘Apple Blossom’ are pink. ‘Midnight’, ‘Lavender Ruffles’, ‘Sour Grapes’ and ‘Lady Hindley’ are purple and lavender verities. ‘Husker Red’ has dark purple foliage. ‘Firebird, ‘Garnet’ and ‘Penstemon barbatus’ are deep red.
Use lavender and penstemon together to create a beautiful bed of perennial color.