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…)

Jul17

Ivo Graham

Ivo Graham is a comedian. We met him, and some of his family, last year at a Christmas Fair. He bought a gift for his father (a log gobbler, which he thought his dad would find funny….) and in the process of buying it also supported the charity the Christmas Fair was raising money for. He was a lovely chap and laughed a lot. We like that in our customers….! Then lo and behold, here he is, providing 30 minutes of funny on the BBC – check it out: Ivo Graham – Live from the BBC He will also be …

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Jul03

Roses – Another One For People Who Plant For Bees

We are currently writing a book about plants that do a great job of Helping The Honeybee. This means we are always on the lookout for flowers that are attractive to our little, honey making friends. This week we have heard plenty of buzzing coming from: Dead nettle Helenium Alliums Veronicastrum Escallonia Plus we glanced in a magazine and saw a note about bees preferring dark flowers when they forage in the shade. We will research this a little more for you, but worth making a note of and thinking about right now if you have a dark patch of …

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Jul01

Visit To David Austin Roses

Last week Modern Mint took a little time out to visit David Austin Roses. The English roses they have created were still blooming beautifully, though the staff there insisted that, because of the warm weather this spring, we had missed the VERY BEST of the flowers. We don’t think so…. A post shared by ModernMint (@modernmintshop) on Jun 27, 2017 at 6:11am PDT This photo is actually of the trial fields, the roses here are part of the breeding program and are being tested as potential new introductions. So look as close as you like, but you won’t be able …

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