Sweet Verbena

Sweet plants-you know what I mean.  No landscape can be structured around them.  Unless you are up close, you might not notice them.  Should you have a cottage garden, your best view of your sweet plants are when you cut and place them in a vintage milk bottle on the table. Sweet plants are lax growing, weedy-gorgeously natural.  Some sweet plants are so sweet, they do not last cut more than a few hours.  The British version of Country Living magazine-I treasure every issue.  The Brits grow every sweet plant successfully in their mild climate-how I so envy them their endless varieites of snowdrops, the auricula primroses, the frittilarias, the columbines, the Noisette roses,  the belladonna and bellamosa delphiniums-all of those sweet plants who would black out and fall to the ground weeping in my midwestern garden.  But we have a few plants available that can satisfy a midwestern gardener’s sweet tooth.  

Trailing verbena-sweet.  For years I avoided growing them.  Prone to mildew and every other fungal disases affecting plants-who has time for this?  Recent breeding has vastly improved the disease resistance of this class of annual plants.  I gave them a second look.  My garden will never ever remotely resemble a beautifully graceful English garden.  Can you hear me sigh?  The trailing verbenas are a plant group I would recommend-should a little dose of sweet suit you. They endow my garden with a little bit of that English country garden I so love. 

They come in a wide range of colors.  White, lavender, lavender star, purple, royal purple-the list is long.  The Lanai series is my favorite-these cultivars are amazingly disease resistant, heavy blooming, and long lived.  My trailing verbenas last long into the fall, given proper culture. 

This cherry red verbena-new to me.  I have no name to pass on.  It is more upright than most.  I am only able to water my pots once a day-when I get home.  Should it be 95 degrees all day, they may wilt down, but this verbena does not expire. The sweet chery verbena has a will of iron to survive.  Sweet plants with a formidable will to live-keep them.

Lanai verbena lavender star is my favorite trailing verbena.  The white and lavender star mix in the blooms makes for a very showy addition to any container planting.  I have had them performing as late as October-no kidding.  I have been so bold as to plant trailing verbenas in ground-they do great. Should you commit to these plants-be advised.  They need to have their dead flower heads removed regularly.  Maybe daily.  Should you be a once a week gardener, please disregard my enchantment with verbena.  If you keep up with the deaheading, thiese plants will reward your garden.

Sweet plants cozy up to other plants in their neighborhood. They never mean to imply they are the star of the show.  They wrote the book on what it means to be a member of a community. Sweet and unassuming they are.  But I love how they grow vigorously, and horizontally, and bloom heavily.  They weave in and out of whatever else is in their neighborhood. So sweet, and so persistent.  They take on, and grow up in concert with, any number of neighbors.   This I like about them.   

New trailing verbena varieties-this bicolor version is an example.  I have no opinion about it-I am trying it for the first time this season.  Successful gardening is much about trying plants that are new to you.  Some you will give a berth in your garden.  I watch and assess everything that goes into the ground in my garden.  Given my small space, why shouldn’t I?  The sweet plants-they will not carry me to the other side.  But when they are good, they are very very good. Have some gardening room for some sweet? 

Plant them-those sweet verbenas.