Penstemon eatonii — New Arrival

P. eatonii, also known as Firecracker Penstemon and Eaton’s Beardtongue.
Photo: Andrey Zharkikh

P. eatonii is also known as Firecracker penstemon and Eaton’s beardtongue.

Found primarily in the Southwest, this herbaceous perennial can rapidly grow to a mature height of three to four feet with red flowers that show May through August.

It is found at elevations from 3,300 to about 8,000 feet and is adapted to full sunlight; moderate/well-draining, slightly alkaline and dryer soils.

It is particularly excellent for gravel-strewn banks and for attracting hummingbirds, among other pollinators.

Sambucus racemosa — New Arrival

S. racemosa, also known as Elderberry.
Photo: Andrey Zharkikh

S. racemosa, also known as Elderberry, is a shrub that can grow upwards of 10 to 20 feet with branches that will arch with age.

When it blooms in May through June, small white flowers will appear on conical spikes and will be followed by clusters of small red berries (about the size of a pea, each).

The fruit is not edible raw by humans, but it can be used for wine or be eaten by birds and mammals.

It is native to rich or rocky wooded areas, slopes, moist cliffs, and ravines.

It does require a fair amount of water and grows best in shaded areas in neutral, rocky soil.

Caution: all plant parts except the berries are poisonous and should not be consumed.

Rubus parviflorus — New Arrival

R. parviflorus, also known as Thimbleberry.
Photo: Ruth Hartnup

R. parviflorus is also known as Thimbleberry. This rhizomatous perennial can rapidly grow to a mature height of about 4 feet with white (sometimes pink-tinted) flowers that show May through August.

It will also bear red, raspberry-like fruit that is an important seasonal food for birds and various mammals like bears and humans.

It is found in open, wooded hillsides, along stream banks, and in canyons.

It does have a high water use, grows in all light conditions, and prefers medium/fine textured, rocky soils. Of note, it can grow well in fairly acidic to slightly basic soils (pH 4.8 to 7.2).

This sometimes thorned plant is attractive to the yellow-banded sphinx butterfly and native, bumble and honey bees.

Erigeron speciosus — New Arrival

E. speciosus, also known as Aspen Fleabane.
Photo: Andrey Zharkikh

E. speciosus is also known as Aspen Fleabane.

This perennial can grow from ½ to 2 ½ feet tall and will display flowers about 2 inches wide in a myriad of colors.

Some of the more common colors include blends of white, blue and lavender with a yellow-orange disc in the middle.

The flowers bloom between June and August.

The native habitat for the Aspen Fleabane is in the open woods in full sun and all types of soil moisture levels.

If planting near trees, it is important to remove fallen leaves from said trees as they can smother the flower’s rosettes and cause them to rot.

Solidago rigida — New Arrival

S. rigida, also known as Stiff Goldenrod or Oligoneuron rigidum.
Photo: Joshua Mayer

S. rigida is also known as Stiff Goldenrod or Oligoneuron rigidum.

Blooming from July-October, it can grow to a mature height anywhere from 1 to 5 feet with clumps of yellow flower heads.

Tolerating moderate shade to full sun, it prefers dry or moist coarse to medium textured sandy soils.

Often found in dry prairies and open places, it is very drought tolerant and can handle down to USDA zone 2b.

It is particularly attractive to butterflies.

Be wary, it is an aggressive self-seeder and will need competition, especially in small areas.

Agastache urticifolia — Upcoming

A. uticifolia, also known as Nettle-Leaf Horsemint or Nettle-Leaf Giant Hyssop.
Photo: Andrey Zharkikh

A. uticifolia is also known as Nettle-Leaf Horsemint or Nettle-Leaf Giant Hyssop.

This upright rhizomatous perennial can rapidly grow to a mature height of 5 feet with red flowers that show June through August.

It grows best in partial shade and soils of all textures that are slightly acidic to basic (pH 6.0 to 8.0).

Often found on open slopes and woods, it is paradoxically not a particularly drought tolerance species and will thrive in areas that get at least 18 inches of precipitation a year.

It is palatable for graze animals, but not humans and is beneficial for native, bumble and honey bees.

Penstemon virens — Upcoming

P. virens is also known as Blue Mist Penstemon and Front Range Penstemon.
Photo: CAJC: In the Rockies

P. virens is also known as Blue Mist Penstemon and Front Range Penstemon.

Unsurprisingly, this 1- 2-foot mature plant is native to central and north-central Colorado as well as southeast and south-central Wyoming.

It generally blooms from March to August with flowers that can range from shades of purple to blue.

Doing well in rocky soils, this plant is attractive to native bees and other pollinators.