THE MODERN MINT BLOG
We know we know – Verbena bonariensis is so well known, planted in so many gardens, that it has become uncool to use it these days. Its ubiquitiousness means it gets judged in harsher tones than other plants, as if its popularity has made it offensive.
This is not the Verbena’s fault. It became popular for a reason – it weaves its way around the garden but doesn’t out compete other plants, it provides height and structure, encourages wildlife, is a gorgeous purple, looks good with other plants and fits into schemes as diverse as a country meadow to urban minimalism. Who wouldn’t want a plant like that? (Possibly the people of Buenos Aires, where this Verbena was discovered and given its name ‘bonariensis’… we’ve not noticed it around the city recently. Time for a trip and take a better look? See if the Argentines are enjoying one of their own…?)
At Modern Mint we refuse to let this lack of love for the plant deter us – a heinous crime against the arbitrarial zeitgeist of good taste it currently may be, but it is a plant with wonderful qualities (for an example of how it is currently viewed, note that it didn’t make it into Dan Pearson’s list.)
The wheels will keep turning and it will come back into fashion, hopefully this time considered the great garden plant it is.
Where and how do you use it?
Plant it in full sun or part shade.
Don’t cut it down before winter, let it stand (and seed.)
It looks great alongside shrub roses, or Miscanthus…
It prefers a damper soil. Really, it does. Henk Gerritsen told us, and observations we made from our own experiments lead us to agree…
“I sometimes made deadful miscalculations. For example, I assumed that due to their lanky growth Verbena bonariensis and Verbena hastata loved aridity, but in practise I noticed that they wilted away in dry places. Only later did I read that in the wild both species grow in moist places, in South and North America respectively.”
That concludes our ode to Verbena bonariensis. We hope you dismiss the current vogue of not using Verbena, and enjoy it as the brilliant garden plant it is.
(And click on the link below to take you to the wonderful Henk Gerritsen book we quoted from above…)
For the gardener, it is easy to be impatient at this time of year – you may want to get out, plant some seeds, get growing and cutting back. But it is still just a touch too cold. Give it another week or so, let those cold winds warm up, let the soil get a bit more heat in it, so that when you finally plant your seedlings they will romp away in happiness. What can you do to remain patient? Listen to Gregory Porter for 17 and a half minutes, and just relax…. “Rest here in my garden….”
In less than two weeks my brand new talk Green Elements: Cultivating Your Garden In Extraordinary Times will be presented, for the first time ever, at the Quay Theatre in Sudbury. The date is March 12th and the time will be 3pm. See what the blurb says about the talk. For those of you this kind of thing matters to, there is no 6 Nations rugby on that afternoon. So don’t panic, you won’t be missing out if you come to the Quay Theatre…. Greener Sudbury, a community group in the town who are committed to making the area a …
We spent last week working with Charlotte Molesworth in her garden, clipping and tidying some of the amazing topiary that needed a light prune. Below are some of the of the photos, just taken on my phone and without filters…. what amazing shapes she has created in her garden over the last 30 plus years! Busy day #pruning with Mrs Molesworth….. #topiary #gardening #plantsmakepeoplehappy A post shared by ModernMint (@modernmintshop) on Feb 15, 2017 at 10:34am PST My little chaps…. A post shared by ModernMint (@modernmintshop) on Feb 15, 2017 at 10:38am PST Absolutely love the holly and boxwood hedge …