Penstemon ‘Evelyn’

Penstemons are excellent garden plants; many of them are hardy, they flower for a long period starting in early summer and most varieties are trouble-free. Penstemon ‘Evelyn’ is a relatively small, bushy plant with narrow leaves and ever-so-pretty, pale pink, tubular flowers; while it may never be the out-and-out star of the show, it will harmonise easily with many border colour schemes. It is associated – like many of our good Irish plants – with the former Slieve Donard Nursery in Newcastle, Co Down.

The entry in Glory of Donard by Nelson and Deane dates it to pre-1935 saying that it is thought to have been raised at the Nursery but that, while various other ‘Donard’ plants were named Evelyn after one of Leslie Slinger’s daughters, this one was definitely not.

Whoever it may be named for, it has stood the test of time. It holds an Award of Garden Merit from the RHS and is listed by a couple of dozen nurseries in the RHS Plant Finder.

(As appeared in Newsletter 149, July 2020. Text and photos courtesy of Maeve Bell)