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Barb's OPN Favorites - Native Perennial Wildflower

February 17, 2020

By: Barb Holtz

Favorite. Preferred. Beloved. Chosen. Heavy hitting words for native perennials. When asked which flower is my favorite, my answer is often "depends". Favorite for what? Dry, wet, tall, short, color or another parameter. But I got myself into this blog so I'll have to get myself out.

My favorite flower of the day is Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis). HUGE leap for me because it's a white bloom. My petal hue affinity is most definitely purple. Then yellow. Then red. White might come before orange but anyway...white it is and here's why.

It's all about blossom shape and bee watching. If you're thinking you'll feel silly just watching a bee, grab a kid you know and perch along the garden edge together. The tubular corolla invites fuzzy bee bodies ( as well as hummingbird tongues) in order to probe for sugary nectar. I liken this bloom to an anti-car wash. Bee enters and stamen "scrubbers" dirty the bumble with dust. Sure, the bee slurps a snack but the blossom wins as well, as the vector transfers yellow grains from plant to plant.

Foxglove Beardtongue Plant

Beyond the entertainment factor, Foxglove Beardtongue is a jack of all trades: sun to part shade ( at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight a day), dry to damp, not too tall (1 to 3 feet) and late spring to summer bloomer. What's not to love? So for today, I choose Foxglove Beardtongue. Ask me again tomorrow...I can be fickle with my favorites.

You'll find Foxglove Beardtongue in a number of our native seed mixes and native seed packets.

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