|Blue Mist Penstemon (Penstemon virens)|
Penstemon is a large genus of wildflowers with snapdragon-like flowers, usually in red, pink, purple or blue. The Berry Prairie is home to five species, one of which white—an atypical color for penstemons. More on that one later—its buds are still small. “Virens” means green, a reference to the shiny, dark green leaves of P. virens. Despite its relatively small size (usually less than 10”), it provides lots of color this time of year because it’s both abundant and floriferous. It can be grown easily from seed, if you want it in your garden, and can sometimes be found at nurseries, too.
Our rock gardens include more than P. virens: A quick sampling includes a currant bush, a groundsel, and a scientist on lunch break!
|Groundsel growing with penstemon virens|
|Current bush in the rock|
|Homo sapien amongst the vegetation|
Written by Dorothy Tuthill, Biodiversity Institute