Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. (Or the Penstemons for the Fairy Queen roses, in this case.)

Around and about the Fairegarden, as the critical design eye shades are worn, the overall beauty might be missed. Why is this plant leaning? What is this bit of foamy stuff? There are too many of these small leaves and not enough large leaves, the thinking goes. (Penstemon digitalis ‘What Started Out As Husker Red’ and Achillea filipendulina ‘Coronation Gold’)

That thinking may be spot on at some times of the year, but not now, not when these little leaves are sporting tall, spiky bloom stalks. (Penstemon barbatus ‘Jingle Bells’)

Right now there are several places that are looking like the Land Of Spikes, but most especially the Gravel Garden. Click here to read the story of its transformation if you are so inclined.

Penstemons all are welcome here, and seem to enjoy the conditions in the old gravel driveway that was repurposed into the Gravel Bed last year. (Penstemon barbatus hybrid)

Highly recommended for a sunny spot is the Verbascum chiaxii ‘Album’. The orange saddlebagged bee agrees.

Now that a spot that seems to their liking has been found, this is the third try, the desert candles, foxtail lilies, Eremurus hybrids are spiking to beat the band.

Not to be denied, for these flower forms are too exquisite for mere words, the odd finger shaped roots were planted in the sunniest, driest spot we have, the raised box, where success was finally to be had. Patience is required along with persistence, it has been learned. Blooming may take a few years from the grass-like foliage rosettes.

Moving over to the Azalea Walk, the Digitalis parviflora ‘Chocolate’ are assuming the spike position.

Also ascending are various others, including Astible x arendsii ‘Fanal’ by the pond. The light sabre spikes are pointing the way to the heavens around here. Up, up and away.


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14 Responses to Spikes

  1. gittan says:

    They sure looks good to me all those spikes =)
    Kraaaam gittan

    Thanks sweet Gittan! So nice to see you here, hope your garden is coming alive now, too.

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I like this spiky flowers and foliage. They lift ones spirits like they lift their blooms. Have a great weekend.

    Thanks Lisa, you too have a wonderful long weekend. The spikes add much to the long views and the close ups. We do need to think about shape in addition to color and bloom time.

  3. Congrats on the Foxtail Lilies. They are Eremurus by the way. Mine are getting bigger each year, but not necessarily blooming every year. A few always do. I’m wondering if I should feed them. What really thrilled me is seeing seedlings of them this spring.

    Thanks Christopher, for alerting me to that little typo. I don’t know what happened to those letters, they mixed themselves up while my back was turned! HA I wondered about your Eremurus, if they do bloom every year, no?, and if they need dividing after a certain amount of time. Seedlings…hip hip hooray!

  4. Carolyn says:

    I’m thinking they are all beautiful, simply beautiful!

    Thanks Carolyn. I think they are quite nice, as well.

  5. Ooo gorgeous spikes! I love your gardening style, you are inspiring! It must be so nice for you to sit in those chairs and admire…

    Thanks so much Heather, for those kind words. I do love to sit in the various chairs around the garden and think about what needs doing. Rarely but sometimes, I just enjoy the view.

  6. All the spikes are so wonderful making a super contrast to the round “buns” that we all have in our gardens. Love your chocolate foxglove!

    Hi Pauline, thanks. There are always new things to learn about making our gardens pleasing. That foxglove is wonderful, even though the individual flowers are very small and muted in color. It is the shape that makes the statement.

  7. ricki says:

    Most of my foxgloves are volunteers, but I think it is time for them to meet their cousin, ‘Chocolate’.

    HI Ricki, thanks for visting. I am just now learning about all the different Digitalis and trying to grow them all. Chocolate is a sweet one! HA

  8. What a great collection of spires. There are so many Penstemon — a perfect plant for any garden. My Astilbes are just starting to bloom— great plant too.

    Hi Janet, thanks so much. The Penstemons are hard working garden plants here, I love the seedheads of the Huskers, too. The Astilbes add so much, too.

  9. Lola says:

    You have a wonderful display of spires. They are so pretty. I must consider them here. Now I have more garden room as I finished a job that I started 2 yrs ago. This yr I’m using it for some more veggies till I make up my mind just what else will go in it.

    Thanks Lola. I am glad to hear you have more room to plant, that is always so much fun. Do consider the spikes, finding the best ones for your zone. They please the eye.

  10. Too exquisite for mere words is so true! Glorious! Love the spikes! Especially the yellow Foxtail Lily and the Verbascum Chiaxii ‘Album’.
    One bad thing about visiting others blogs is plant envy! lol
    Great job! glimpsesofglory-karen.blogspot.com/

    Thanks Karen. Those two you mention are plants that I have long coveted, just now getting them growing here. I have a wish list that grows longer as blogs and books/magazines are read, or gardens are visited. That is how I even learned of the Verbascum. Too fun!

  11. Linda says:

    I love the spires, think they really add a lot to the look of a garden. I’ve been collecting digitalis rather haphazardly, but that chocolate one is lovely. Will have to look for it and maybe organize my collection a bit. Thanks for the lovely pics, Linda

    Thanks Linda. The Digitalis are so often biennials or very short lived if perennials, it is difficult to have them in a specific spot in the design. I do love them, wherever they pop up. Adding to the collection is happening here. I never knew there were so many varieties, and seeds are cheap.

  12. izziedarling says:

    These photos are sooooooo beautiful. Wish I didn’t have a black thumb – but you are amazing. Love the orange saddlebagged bee. What a big name for a little fella.

    Hi Izzie, thanks so much for those sweet words. The bee is a cutie!

  13. Shyrlene says:

    Frances – Husker Red Penstemon is at the top of my 2011 Wishlist. Now I have to excuse myself while I go back to the beginning of your post and re-read about all those wonderful plants in your gardens. (Just lovely!)

    Hi Shrylene, thanks so much for those sweet words. Husker and its offspring are hard working in the garden here. I hope you are able to add it to your own space.

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