Hello, I'm in eastern Massachusetts in zone 6b, new to NARGS, and have recently fallen in love with Penstemon even though I know most species are native to the west. I have a regular flower bed (not a rock garden and not amended with sand or gravel) that I'd like to give over to Penstemon next year. I'd like to grow several different species from seed. I'll of course try the eastern US natives but would also like to try some of the others that just MIGHT be able to grow here in our wet summers and winters and fairly fertile soil. I'll probably start the seeds in pots outdoors in, say late November, maybe with window screening on top, and leave them outside all winter to get their stratification. My question: in the spring when I have seedlings, should I plant those in the ground then, or should I let them grow in the pots through the summer and plant the larger seedlings in early fall?
Or, what about the idea of direct-seeding right in the garden in late November?
Thanks for any advice.