A shot from yesterday alas. A bit too wet to venture out with the camera this a.m. I started this Echium russicum last year from seed. I had purchased a plant a couple of years ago and loved the fact that it produced and kept its red/maroon/purple blossoms for such a long period of time. You might be more familiar with the lovely blue Echium vulgare or Viper's Bugloss that we see blooming along railway tracks and in fields early to mid summer.
Echium russicum is listed as a biennial, perennial, or perhaps monocarpic (blooms & dies). My purchased plant is still around, although much smaller than those on their year two. So if I wanted to keep a patch going, I'd probably start some fresh from seed. This is a plant that grows from Zone 2 to 9 - perfect for any location in North America.
For really cool photos of Viper's Bugloss check out Brian Johnston's article at http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artfeb04/bjbugloss.html