I put several Penstemon 'Elfin Pink' at the front edge of this large garden, thinking they would be small, dainty -- elfin, perhaps? -- and a good edger in front of other penstemons, notably the 'Husker's Red' dark leaved ones.
|On the left the 'Elfin Pink' penstemon and the white flowered 'Husker's Red' duke it out from behind deep purple salvia. A large white baptisia pendula arches above. From this angle it looked cottagey.|
These pink bloomers were not edgers. Instead, they took up some space and they flopped. They hid the beautifully colored 'Husker's Red' penstemons which have dark maroon foliage and rosy tinted white spikes of flowers.
|I know, I could stake them, but at the front of the border stakes look intrusive. This is just too crowded.|
I could never make up my mind about the color. Were they too pink or a nice pop with the more subdued plants in back? I couldn't decide, but the basic problem of too much height and too much lankiness in front was evident.
|In early spring, with the penstemons in front cleared out, I can see the reddish clumps of 'Husker's Red' and the garden looks so much neater.|
|Now, blooming pink and white spires of Husker's Red penstemon mingle with yellow coreopsis.|
|Up close the 'Husker's Red' penstemon flowers are delicate and pretty and I can see them now that they are no longer hidden.|
Of course, the 'Elfin Pink' plants had been happy in the raised, quick draining edge slope of the original garden, and I moved them to a swale in a new bed where water collects coming down the lawn. There's more room to fling themselves about and lay down, but they may not like the slower draining conditions.
|'Elfin Pink' aren't as big and floppy so soon after transplant, but they have room now to fill out without crowding neighbors.|
This newer, large garden still has empty space to cover. Hiding behind the pink penstemons is a very small new Rosa glauca, redleaf rose. The blue green foliage of the rose turns out to be a perfect foil for the odd, hot pink of the penstemons.
|This color pink is hard to use with any other colors in the garden. It looks good, though, with dusty blue green leaves of a Rosa glauca. Hot and cool work together.|
In this new emptier garden my unkempt non-elfin penstemons will have to do the job once more, until they fill this space up and get too rangy as they did before. When the rose grows to its six foot spread, I'll have to edit things again.
But until then, I hope 'Elfin Pink' goes all out, all pink, and all floppy in its new home.