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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

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.”

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The only book I know that gives up–to–date information about this genus of about 250 species of very desirable, dependable flowering plants.. . . . It’s the perfect book to give someone if you are trying to stimulate interest in perrenial gardening.” —The Washington Post

“Nold’s enthusiasm for penstemons is so strong that the reader will be tempted to try these plants in the rock garden, perennial border, native plant area or in containers.” —National Gardener

“Nold’s dual perspectives, botany and horticulture, have merged into a beautifully written book about a genus he clearly loves, Penstemon.” —American Gardener

“Usefully illustrated with wonderful botanical watercolours and with photographs which show the plants in their natural (and often unlikely) conditions.” —Gardens Illustrated

“The book will be of great value to any student of the genus, botanical or horticultural, and essential for any botanical or horticultural library.” —Choice

“The style is humorous and readable. . . . beautiful watercolors as well as many pages of color photographs. . . . this is a great book to take road-botanizing at penstemon bloom time.” —Rock Garden Quarterly

“If you are a frustrated, wanna-be penstemon gardener, be sure to read this book.” —WaterWise

“The author’s enthusiasm for penstemons is so persuasive that the reader will surely be tempted to experiment with a broader range of these versatile plants in the perennial border or in the rock garden.” —Biology Digest

“You will find plenty of good, accessible information here, with a glossary to explain some of those scary technical words. Most importantly, Nold’s enthusiasm for penstemons is contagious and I think will encourage any reader to try growing them.” —Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer

“This book stands out from many other horticultural works due to the clarity of its style and the balance of its perspective.” —Plant Science Bulletin
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:
6.06(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(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.

Meet the Author

Robert Nold is a regular writer for the rocky Mountain Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society and the Colorado Gardener. His articles have appeared in The American Gardener and Horticulture, and he was a contributor to the 2004 revision of The American Horticultural Society's A–Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. He is the author of two award-winning Timber Press books: Penstemons and Columbines.

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