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Angelonia, Angelonia angustifolia; “Summer Snapdragon”

For those of us who labor endlessly in our gardens, the idea of the backyard as a place of repose can seem like a lunatic’s delusion. If we do manage to take a break from the endless weeding and pruning to mop our sweaty brows and view our handy work, we often end up ignoring the beauty and focusing only on the chores that remain. Far too often for the caretaker, the garden is less a restful haven than a three-dimensional to-do list. However, help is on the way. Hybridizers, those patient horticulture worker bees, are laboring in their greenhouses to create plants that require less care while providing more satisfying results.

A perfect example of this phenomenon is Angelonia. Until sometime in the 1990s this was a rather drab little flower that was mainly grown in areas of the south which shared a similar climate with this plant’s native habitats in Mexico and the West Indies. Drab no more, thanks to a plethora of gorgeous cultivars, Angelonia has become a landscapers’ darling and an overworked gardener’s dream come true. Once hard to find at the garden center, this plant is now widely available in a selection of vibrant colors from white to blue to purple to mauve and, recently, even a pinkish red.

Angelonia augustifolia by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr
Above: Angelonia angustifolia, spotted at a plant nursery on Maui. Photograph by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr.

Ellen Reznick, owner of the Manhattan design and maintenance firm Lush Life Gardening, is an enthusiastic fan of Angelonia and reports it is a vigorous and continuous full season bloomer, even thriving in the harsh conditions...

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