A match made in heaven to be enjoyed on earth.
On July 26, 2009, I walked outside and saw a sight that made me gasp and clasp my hands over my heart. It was one of those moments where you thank God you have the privilege of gardening on this piece of earth, and that you listened to that inner prompt that said, “Sprinkle those poppy seeds here.” I suppose that sounds like a histrionic cliche, but the fact is there are certain garden vignettes that I find profoundly moving.
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.
The poppy and the penstemon complement each other on many levels.
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.
Plant patent for ‘Dark Towers’ penstemon
Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.
in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013