I purchased one ‘Dark Towers’ penstemon from Dutch Gardens, not knowing I’d receive a trial plant of the same from Terra Nova Nurseries a couple weeks later. Last year both remained rosettes of dark purple foliage and didn’t bloom, so when I sowed the seeds of ‘Lauren’s Grape’ poppy around them (a sample from Botanical Interests), I just had this vague idea that the poppies would “go” with the penstemon.It turns out they complement each other on many levels. The lighter parts of the poppy’s petals pick up the dark base of each penstemon flower, while the darker color at the base of each poppy bloom echoes the deep purple-plum of the penstemon foliage. And the celadon foliage of the poppy complements that of the penstemon, as well as its own poppy petals.
I still go out at least once a day to look at that combination in wonder and gratitude. The only flaw in this arrangement is that the penstemon was almost done blooming by the time the first poppies opened. However, I sowed the poppies rather late, so perhaps they will be more in sync next year.
One can hope.