Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’
A few new native perennial introductions are promising improvements on some old standbys. Terra Nova Nursery’s Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ loves full sun and has glossy bronze-red foliage topped by masses of pink, instead of white, flowers, that appear in summer. Hardy to zone 3, this plant is heat and humidity tolerant and has a long bloom time. Foliage height is 33″ with flowers reaching up to 36″ and a spread of around 30″.
Helianthus salicifolius ‘Table Mountain’ is another interesting new perennial and is a compact sunflower that is easily grown in average, well-drained garden soils in full sun which it needs for best flowering. It has strappy foliage topped by bright yellow flowers and has an average height of 12-18″ with the same spread and is more tolerant of dry soil than most cultivars of this species . This late summer into fall bloomer is a nice addition to borders and naturalized areas and will slowly spread over time by creeping rhizomes. Seeds are reported to be sterile.