Great Plants this Month Summer

Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’

Louse Sims

There is a faint lull in our garden in the middle of June, many summer flowering plants are poised for the next act, but right now Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ is the show-stopper. It has been flowering for several weeks already and will continue to do so for many more to come … and it is truly eye catching.

Three or four years ago I decided to test out a few different penstemons, so I bought plug plants, probably 20 or so different ones. Already, by the second season, ‘Dark Towers’ had filled the top slot, no question. It is similar to P. ‘Husker’s Red’ (same breeder) but definitely superior.

One of the first to flower, it is tall for a penstemon, stately even, and hardy. The rich, deep wine-red foliage is semi-evergreen and sets off perfectly the soft pink tubular flowers which rise to a metre or so and are loved by bees.

I could reel off any number of suitable companion plants, but the soft blue-green foliage of Thalictrum flavum with its pale yellow flowers makes the perfect backdrop, and the glaucous purple blue foliage of Sedum ‘Red Cauli’ spring to mind, as does Kniphofia ‘Sunningdale Yellow’ with its clear yellow pokers.

Take cuttings in mid-summer as your friends are bound to want one!

NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 and is for sale in our online shop here.

More NB If you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

3 replies on “Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’”

Hello Laura,
In addition to Patricia’s excellent Morrison’s tip , Louise suggests you keep an eye on EBay where you can often pick up plug plants of P. ‘Dark Towers’ at a reasonable price. You can still buy it as a full grown plant from the bigger nurseries such as Thompson and Morgan but I’m wondering how well it would a) travel and b) establish in this funny summer weather we’re having. Think I might be tempted to wait until September now and get some plug plants in and established this autumn whilst the soil is still warm and look forward to enjoying them flowering next summer. Hope this is helpful, best wishes Laura

I found my penstemon dark towers at the beginning of the year in Morriston supermarket
I find it a great place to get inexpensive unusual perennials. In January I even saw 2 carnivorous plants for sale.

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