Penstemon Midnight Masquerade In Bloom - Early June 2024

Last Fall, I planted a three-pack of Penstemon Midnight Masquerade in the conifer garden IB2DWs and talked about how I needed to keep going (out of my comfort zone) with flowers.  There was a lot to like about these perennials - they're drought tolerant, can handle heat and humidity, full of dark foliage and bloom purple and white flowers.  When I bought them, they were past bloom-time, so that flower part was taken on faith.

This Spring, I marked their reemergence for their first Spring in early April when new foliage clumps came back from dormancy.   I topped this part of the bed with some big box mulch (not leaf mulch...) and mostly moved on in the gardening season.  Until this week.  When these things started to bloom.  

Have a look at my three one-year-old Midnight Masquerade Penstemons (or Beardtongue) with their showy light purple and white clusters of flowers:

Penstemon Midnight Masquerade in Bloom

This spot is full sun and is part of what I've always called the 'hard to grow' section.  The thick layer of biosolids and (now) wood chip mulch will (hopefully) continue to improve the soil.  This first year of blooms tell me that these appear to be content in their home.  

The success of these in one growing season is making me think about how I pay off #2 on my 2024 to-do list a little bit more this season:  keep going with flowers.  I tend to stay in the shade/foliage section of my favorite Wisconsin nursery.  My next trip, I'll buy something brand new to me and who knows...maybe it will surprise me like these Beardtongue have IB2DWs.

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