Wednesday, May 13, 2015

purple craving

 I haven't been posting much about Penstemon linaroides since I moved into TMH. It's probably because I still miss the ones that I had at Casa Coniglio. Some of it is remembering the old plants through the eye of nostalgia, though. Since I do have some photos of pale ones.

 The new plants are nice enough, but they don't have that vibrant blue-violet that I crave. The pale lavender just doesn't hit the spot.

One of the plants is much more on the pink side. This is sort of similar to the colors of my two rosemaries, Home Depot's pale blue vs. 'Gorizia' lavender blue. This is why I bought another 'Blue Spires' on my last trip to California. Recently, I found a couple more linaroides at Agua Fria Nursery, which are a bit different.

One is strangely upright (and, I'm told, with the same pale lavender flowers, sigh!), but the other (above) has the dark green leaves which my more vibrantly colored ones had before. That's more like it. Looks like it may be very crandallii. I don't think it's P. linarioides, but that's okay if I can get this color. I may have to end up breeding some P. linaroides myself.

I also bought a Penstemon abeitanus, which is "yet another blue mat penstemon" as they guy there called it (which of course meant I had to have it).  It popped out a couple flowers today (above) which are a nice rich blue, but small. Also looking very P. crandallii.    I'm hoping Agua Fria will have more P. ramalayi this year, which is semi-deciduous, and fragile, but oh so beautiful, and also something I regrettably left behind at Casa Coniglio.

Last fall, I brought back a Penstemon heterophyllus Blue Springs from California, and it survived the winter. Now that's some color.

I should probably get my hands on another P. h. 'Margarita BOP' as well. But to be honest, I'd rather have a P. ramaleyi or the rich purple P. linarioides they used to have at Agua Fria. Heck, I'll probably get all of them, if I can. 

 One of the Nolina texana (Texas Beargrass) has put out a flower head. I've seen some on my hikes that were much more purple than this as well. Oh well. I don't have the energy to remember those plants and keep an eye out for seeds, then wait years for them to bloom. The plants from seeds I collected last year are still only a couple inches high. GROW little plants!

 Salvia daghestanica is also starting to bloom, giving me a purple fix.

And the spuria iris 'Belize' that I managed not to kill in transplanting it from Casa Coniglio has put out some flowers. I've got to remember to move it again this fall to a better spot.

 I also had to plant some Salvia 'Caradonna' to get more vibrant purple into the garden.

There are some self-sown violas from last year.

 I've got the Scottish Bluebells, Campanula rotundifolia, reseeding itself with abandon.

Then there's 'Walker's Low' catmint, which is not vibrant blue, but a soft, misty blue, sometimes a more vibrant blue depending on the lighting. I love it anyway.

And there's the very similarly colored Salvia officinalis minimus. which has very different plant form. Flowering is unfortunately very brief, but it does have nice foliage, and it is culinary.

You might wonder why I don't plant more Penstemon strictus, which is dark rich blue. I do have it, and like it, but it is hard to place. It blooms on long stalks, then forms a mat on the ground only a couple of inches high for the rest of the year. Where do you plant something that is 2-3 feet tall in the spring, but 2-3 inches tall the rest of the year?

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