Recently, I wrote about some plants that are generalists in the sense that they have the ability to survive in a variety of environments, including our gardens. Other plants are more like specialists. These seem to thrive only under certain conditions–special soil, special elevation, special companion plants and so forth. And some plants act like specialists in the sense that they do fine in the wild but die if you try to grow them in a nursery pot.
From a grower’s perspective, there a number of such tricky, difficult native plants–including these beautiful lupines, which thrive in our lower foothills. I know folks would love to see them in their home landscapes–along with other desirable natives such as Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Paintbrush, native Phloxes and Milkvetches. I have tried and failed to grow all of these!
Perhaps others have succeeded where I have failed, but for now I accept that there are some plants that I won’t try to grow but will simply appreciate whenever I see them in the wild.

April 2, 2023