THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jul10

Verbena Bonariensis

Verbena Bonariensis

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…)

May21

Starting a Nursery (Some Thoughts)

Speaking with a gardener this week, we began discussing what they would do if they started a nursery – how would they go about it? What would they grow? What challenges would they face and what joys could they expect from it? The conversation veered between the vested ideal of what running a nursery is (and should be!) to the hard realities of life as a grower. It was immensely entertaining and so we wanted to share with you some thoughts on starting a nursery. Please note that some of this is wide-ranging, and it is probably a subject for us to …

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May08

A Low Maintenance Garden

Here we are in May, the weather is warm, we have had some rain and the sap is rising – you look around your garden and all you will see is the maintenance issues, the jobs that are to be done. How do you cope with a garden that threatens to overtake you? Well, here are some ideas for you, to reduce the work load and give yourself a low maintenance garden – all without reducing the amount of flowers you have! Low Maintenance Garden Ideas 1) Plant Shrubs The New Perennial Movement has turned people off planting shrubs in …

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May01

Ron Finley, Guerilla Gardener

This video is a Ted Talk by Ron Finley, a guerilla gardener in LA. (For those of you who want to know more about guerilla gardening, try this blog post we wrote last year about Richard Reynolds, London’s own guerilla gardener…!) A friend sent it to us to watch (we had never heard of Ron Finley before but he is a lovely speaker to watch and listen to) and, in the email our friend sent the link in, he described his favourite part of this video. It was Ron Finley saying this: “Gardening is the most therapeautic and defiant act you can …

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