June 22, 2017

Radiant and Stately

Verbena bonariensis

Janine Pineo Photo - Verbena bonariensis

THE WEEKEND EDITION (So big it covers two days)

No matter what name by which you call it, Verbena bonariensis is one of the most eye-catching flowers a gardener could plant. In Maine, the plant is grown as an annual, although it has been known to self-seed on occasion. The plant itself is wiry and low growing, sending up tall (4 feet or more), square stems atop which the radiant purple blossoms appear. If you pinch it back, the plant will get bushier and send up even more flower stems. It is a great attraction for bees and butterflies and works well interplanted with shorter specimens. As for those other names? Purpletop verbena, tall verbena, clustertop verbena and purpletop vervain all refer to this garden beauty.

TV trivia: In an episode of the British series, “Larkrise to Candleford,” Dorcas is in her garden surrounded by Verbena bonariensis.