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…)

Mar22

Dalefoot Composts on BBC2!

Our favourite, peat free compost can be seen on BBC 2 – just watch Back To The Land With Kate Humble. Dalefoot Composts are made with wool from Herdwick’s, a traditional Lake District sheep. They then mix it with bracken harvested as a crop on their land, as well as from other farmers in the Lakes. It makes a compost that holds water for longer, reducing the need for you to water, and slowly feeds your plants with nitrogen. We love it, and have spoken about it before at our garden club talks…. So do click the link and watch where …

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Mar19

Estudio Caruncho – Worth A Look!

Estudio Caruncho is the garden design studio of one of our favourite garden designers, the Spaniard Fernando Caruncho. Minimalist rather than maximalist, he has made some of the most iconic gardens of the last 20 years. Recently his own garden has taken something of a transformation too, as a plague wiped out the vast plantings of evergreen boxwoods and escallonia. Reduced as the evergreen components were, it allowed him to replace it with masses of the annual white cosmos – you can read and see photos here of Caruncho’s Temporal Cosmic Garden. But it is his work space we concentrate …

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Mar19

Fernando Caruncho – Temporal Cosmic Garden

A few years back now we wrote about Fernando Caruncho, the Madrid based garden designer known for his minimalist, evergreen planting designs and spaces shaped by geometry. His work has always fascinated us, the sense of calm and unity that pervades the gardens he creates. He speaks poetically about his work too, at times almost in riddles, philosophising about gardens as landscapes of paradise, that purvey atmospheres of stillness that seem at odds with our contemporary ‘constantly on’ lifestyle. Caruncho’s Contrast Between Words and Garden Style It is a strange contrast in his work – expressing himself through plants and …

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