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Narrowed By:Type: Perennials+ Tolerance: Deer Tolerant+ Seasonal Interest: Spring+ Botanical Name: P - R
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no image available Paeonia obovata var. alba
(Japanese forest peony)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This plant is a beautiful addition to the garden from early spring until autumn. Red shoots with a crystalline dusting emerge in early April, followed by 5-inch-long, egg-shaped leaves that mature to a dark, reddish green. Each 18-inch stem bears a 2-inch-wide, chalice-like, single pure-white flower with yellow anthers and purple filaments. Mature seedpods open to reveal metallic-blue pea-sized fertile seeds and holly-berry red unfertilized seeds.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Husker Red' is one of the few penstemons that does well in wet winters and hot, humid summers. Ruby-toned leaves appear in spring, followed in late spring and early summer by 3-foot-high stems adorned by panicles of white blooms.  The flowers attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, but the plants are not magnets for deer or rabbits. In autumn and winter, songbirds feast on the seed. For a stunning display, plant 'Husker Red' in groups. -Chris Kelley, Regional Picks: Midwest, Fine Gardening issue #120


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