Penstemons

Penstemons

by Robert Nold
     
 

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With some 270 species, Penstemon is the largest genus endemic to North America, with examples to be found in every state in the continental U.S. Penstemons are particularly beloved by rock gardeners, but as Panayoti Kelaidis points out in his foreword, they belong in every garden, since "one penstemon or another will thrive in virtually any microclimate a

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Overview

With some 270 species, Penstemon is the largest genus endemic to North America, with examples to be found in every state in the continental U.S. Penstemons are particularly beloved by rock gardeners, but as Panayoti Kelaidis points out in his foreword, they belong in every garden, since "one penstemon or another will thrive in virtually any microclimate a garden can contrive, from hot, desert exposures to dank shade."

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Booknews
Nold begins with an enlightening discussion of dryland gardening, hardiness, soil amendments, and other sometimes controversial issues, followed by a general treatment of penstemon cultivation, morphology, habitat, nomenclature, and other topics. The bulk of the book is devoted to detailed species descriptions. Includes 43 color photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604692242
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
07/16/2010
Pages:
308
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.65(d)

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Read an Excerpt

I started growing Pentsemons as the result of a chance purchase of Pentsemon roezlii (then labeled P. laetus var. roezlii, naturally);it was, as they say, all downhill from there, but it was not until I started growing the native pentsemons and the large southwest species that the idea of abandoning irrigation seemed feasible. Irrigation should not be seen as a remedy in desperate times; rather, it is a way to make up for the difference between the "ideal" garden climate and the often pathetic amounts of rainfall many western gardens receive. Most of this water, treated drinking water, goes onto lawns, of course, but where there are heavily watered lawns, there are usually heavily watered gardens; where watering restrictions occur, as they often do, gardens and lawns quickly turn brown and shrivel up to nothing in the intense, relentless western sun.

Writing about the virtues of dryland gardening often turns into pontification, which I hope to avoid, at least a little, in this book, and in fact many parts of our gardens are more or less regularly watered, since I also grow alpine pentsemons, especially the "shrubbies" of the Pacific Northwest. Few aspects of gardening are more satisfying, to my mind, than having the garden divided up into areas dedicated to different watering regimes. This enables lazy gardeners like me to concentrate on small areas rather than allowing everything to dry out and die after one hot, windy day.

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