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Flowering Now: Penstemon

Flowering Now: Penstemon

A native flower here in Southern California, although this particular variety might be a hybridized version for garden use. The lovely tubular flowers nod in the breeze above their deep-green leaves and add a spark to any landscape.


Photo: Douglas E. Welch, A Gardener’s Notebook

Via Instagram

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Penstemon /ˈpɛnstɨmən/,[1] the beardtongues, is a large genus of North American and East Asian flowering plants formerly placed in theScrophulariaceae family (Cronquist system). Due to new genetic research, it has now been placed in the vastly expanded family Plantaginaceae.

They have opposite leaves, partly tube-shaped, and two-lipped flowers and seed capsules. The most distinctive feature of the genus is the prominentstaminode, an infertile stamen. The staminode takes a variety of forms in the different species; while typically a long straight filament extending to the mouth of the corolla, some are longer and extremely hairy, giving the general appearance of an open mouth with a fuzzy tongue protruding and inspiring the common name beardtongue.

Most penstemons are deciduous or semi-evergreen perennials, the remainder being shrubs or subshrubs. Heights can range from 10 cm to as much as 3 metres.

The one Asiatic species previously treated in Penstemon is now placed in a separate genus Pennellianthus. This leaves Penstemon a mostly nearcticgenus, with a few neotropical species. Although widespread across North America, and found in habitats ranging from open desert to moist forests, and up to the alpine zone, they are not typically common within their range.—

More information on Penstemon:


Previously in Flowering Now:

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Interesting Plant: Firecracker vine (Ipomoea lobata)

Firecracker vine (Ipomoea lobata)

A nice replacement for the overly aggressive Morning Glory most plant in their garden. I think this Ipomoea has a lovely look that is completely different from typical morning glory flowers, so it adds some unique interest to your garden.

Interesting Plant: Firecracker vine (Ipomoea lobata) 

Discovered via Instagram User PlantADayPic

This unusual annual vine can add vertical interest to the garden. Its vivid blossoms (red tooth-like flowers that fade to orange and then yellow and white) are a hummingbird magnet. Firecracker vine can bloom year round in warm climates, but generally blooms from summer to fall. It is a native of Mexico and Central and South America. – Julia Jones, Designing with Annuals, Fine Gardening issue #120

  More information on Firecracker vine (Ipomoea lobata):


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Plants and Seeds:

Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

Garden Decor: Chalkboard Pots for the Garden

Garden Decor: Chalkboard Pots for the Garden

I know, chalkboard painted items are a bit cliche these days, but they can be very practical, too. Here are a collection of chalkboard pained flower pots for your garden that shows everyone what you are growing.


…or make your own chalkboard containers…


Previously in Garden Decor:

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Get this tote and more – Also on cards, laptop sleeves, smartphone covers, mugs and more! via Instagram [Photo]


Mexican Bird-of-Paradise – A Minute in the Garden 25 from A Gardener’s Notebook [Video]

A Minute in the Garden: A series from A Gardener’s Notebook

The next in a series of garden minutes


See all the videos in “A minute in the garden” series in this YouTube playlist 

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Cactus flowers,Joshua Tree National Park via Instagram [Photo]

Mexican Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) via Instagram [Photo]