V for Vigour, Verbena and Vinca minor

One of my favourite plants is Verbena Bonariensis. I first fell for it, when I saw in G’s parents’ front garden which was a tidy shingle sunny bed, with these towering purple blooms right at the front, fabulous. They self seed everywhere so Pat found a few escapees and gave them to me but they failed to thrive (some being accidentally beheaded by G when he decided to strim the grass (and anything near it.. doh)

I then grew some from seed, and carefully nurtured them, potting them on as they grew. When I planted out and left them around 3-4 inches high, by the next day, there they were gone. Slugs and snails my main suspects! Anyway I persevered and last year managed to get a plant to survive and I see it is already sending up new shoots, so I’m happy.  Maybe the self seeded ones are a bit less tasty, and more defensive. They are never going to have enough space or sun to do as well as Pat’s garden (which won a prize in an Eastbourne in bloom competition), but there will be enough to keep a few bees happy.

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They are rather on the tall and leggy side, and when I spotted  a dwarf one for sale in the garden centre, I couldn’t resist. I kept it in a nice white pot, and it kept itself tidy (if rather spiky) and bloomed for ages. Nice to look at, but I don’t think I saw a single bee or butterfly on it. Which is rather a shame. It’s still alive I think, though probably could have done with a mulch before this cold spell started, but we will see if it makes it.

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Another V is Vinca minor. The periwinkle is a lovely ground cover plant, and I have a couple on the shady side, that are reliable without overtaking the garden.

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V is also for Variegation. I don’t think you can get enough variegation in your leaves! They can really add texture and depth to a patch of green or a dark corner!

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And ending with a Villain, the dreaded Vine weevil. You buy a plant, and care for it and then weep as it wilts and dies. Often the cause is an infestation of vine weevils in the pot. I lost a few purchases this year, and must remember to try and check the roots for these little villains, before I settle the plants in! Apparently this is a good time to check the roots of any ailing plants in pots, so must try that when they thaw out!

 

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