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…)
Modern Mint are thrilled to announce we now have a collection of Earth Friendly Gardening Books now in stock! Written by the brilliant and award winning gardener John Walker (who gave us a fantastic interview on this blog last year) we can now offer you the following titles in his oeuvre… The Brand New Book ‘Weeds’ The Practical ‘How To Create An Eco Garden’ 2 Book Collection of Essays ‘Digging Deep’ Click on the photos above to read more about what makes these books such a worthwhile read… or visit the Modern Mint Shop.
In July we were invited to visit Jekka’s Herb Farm and herbetum, a fantastic nursery just North of Bristol run by the wonderful Jekka McVicar. It is the first time we had met her, although we bought her book ‘Jekka’s Complete Herb Book’ many years ago now (along with over 1 million other people who have a copy….) and it was an absolute pleasure – she is funny, down-to-earth and interested in how she can help you learn more about herbs, a group of plants that don’t always get the air time ornamentals and fruit and vegetables are allowed. Here …
We are sorry to say there has been a price increase in our copper tools. These incredible tools/works of art are handmade in Europe and since we have left the EU the unfavourable exchange rate no longer allows us to absorb increased costs from production. This comes at the same time that the tools are gaining huge popularity worldwide (hurray for sensible folk who want to garden with great tools that last a lifetime, rather than throwaway rubbish!) and the foundry are struggling to keep up with demand. For example, only one person does the brazing on the large copper tools …