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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday~Two Native Verbenas

Verbena hastata
I love verbenas...and the two natives I have growing in my garden are a treat to the eyes in this time of golden yellow rudbeckias.
Rose vervain with Brown-Eyed Susan, 'Grey Owl' Juniper and Switchgrass
I've grown Verbena/Glandularia canadensis 'Homestead Purple' for years, but, have never found it happier than in its new home on the Tommies Hill. The full sun and excellent drainage have kept this fellow blooming from early spring, when it was planted, all though this long hot summer. There are half a dozen or so plants on the Hill and I am more than sure they would cover the entire bed if Rudbeckia triloba hadn't sprouted there!

'Homestead Purple' is a chance hybrid that was discovered by Alan Armitage and Michael Dirr at a Georgia country homestead while they were driving  back to Athens, Georgia. They saw a patch of brilliant purple flowers and stopped to speak with the homeowner, took cuttings and the rest is history. 

We have them to thank for a plant that blooms for months; provides nectar for visiting bees, skippers and butterflies and is one of the best flowering groundcovers ever!  It's not unusual for Rose verbena to be semi-evergreen in my Zone 7 garden, but, it will die out in badly draining soil.  So plant it on a well drained site with full sun and let it fill in.

If you're like me  you can combine it with golden yellow rudbeckias, purple asters, Liatris, Echinaceas, Gaillardias and native grasses or go for a tamer look and plant it in the front of abed with sweet pale yellows and blues and silvers. 

'Homestead Purple' is a perennial in zones 7-10 but, the species is perennial in the Central Plains and the Eastern US.
each bloom is about 1/4 inch~now that's tiny
Verbena hastata is new to Clay and Limestone~by new I mean brand new, having just brought several plants home from GroWild (my go to nursery for native plants) this past week. I am so excited about this plant, that I am willing to do what I can to make Swamp Verbena happy!
A hard spot to photograph, it's either too shady or too sunny!

Yes, Swamp Verbena is the common name and it's happiest in a moist soil; will even tolerate soggy for a bit of time. They're planted on the far edge of the Susan's Bed in a newly dug space between slabs of bedrock where I hope it will stay moist enough to keep it happy the rest of the summer and will then settle in nicely during our usually wet, wet winters. That's the plan!  We'll see if the weather and the verbena cooperate.

You'll find V hastata in almost every state and province minus a few in the US and Canada...
Flowers on each spike bloom bottom to top
Here's what I like about this plant and why I was so excited.  It's cute.  It's a slender, upright plant with lanceolate, serrated leaves and it has flowers on showy candelabra-like spikes.  The flowers are the  tiniest little things and each one is about 1/4 inch and they open a few at a time from the bottom up.  Did I mention that the tiny little flowers are a marvelous blue-purple that are just what this garden needs in the middle of the time of rudbeckias!

More importantly, they also fit right in with the other rough and tumble, take care of them selves wildflowers that do best in my garden. If it's happy, it will grow tall, form a small colony, bloom for months and attract pollinators.
If your lucky you might even find a Bumble on one...Just in time for Wildflower Wednesday!

xxoogail
Welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.


Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

40 comments:

  1. Your Verbenas are wonderful, dear Gail. I did not realize Homestead Purple was a native! There may be a place for that one somewhere here. Lucky you, finding the V. hastata, I know you will find the perfect spot for them. GroWild sounds like such a great nursery, too.
    xoxoxo
    Frances

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    1. Frances, I grabbed them all when I saw them at GroWild. H stricta makes a lot of sense for your gardens since it likes it dry. I will try it, but, will have to work hard to give it the drainage it needs. Rose verbena is a treasure and I hope it's happy on the Tommies Hill.

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  2. i have to say you are my native hero. i need some serious mentoring. i feel like a babe when it comes to all this. i planted what i think is the homestead verbena as a ground cover in my front picket fenced in area surrounding my raised beds along with my other things. the homestead verbena is looking so pretty right now. i love the sweetness of swamp verbena and need to add some to my more moist areas of the garden. i need a grow wild fix for sure. thanks for sharing.
    marmee

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    1. Thank you dear. I love being a native plant hero. Btw, I love the plant resource you sent me to in Franklin~True Value! I bought Penstemons for $1 each.

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  3. Gail I also love verbenas as the pollinators seems to sing when they are around. I have been meaning to get a swamp one as it is native here too and boy do I have swamp soil...looks like it goes to the top of the list...

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    1. Donna, You must get it! I can't wait to see it in your garden...

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  4. I definitely need some native verbena for my August Dreams Garden border. I'm joining in to share about my rare goldenrod today.

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    1. Loved your Shortii Goldenrod! It's a cutie pie.

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  5. I love homestead purple! I have had the distinct privilege of meeting Dr. Armitage on several occasions. He gives our Master Gardener group a tour of the UGA Trial Gardens every year. He is a wealth of information and inspiration!

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    1. Karin, How wonderful. He is inspiring and I appreciate all he has done for southern gardens and gardening. I often quote him about how much hardier our plants need to be when we have cold, cold winters and no snowfall blanket to protect our gardens.

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  6. Lovely purple blooms! I find that purple goes with any color in the garden, don't you think? The hasta's foliage reminds me of verbena bonanseinarus (never can spell that one:) ); does it have a similar growing habit? 'Homestead Purple' is one of my favorites, but here it is an annual. I couldn't find any at all last season, and I wish I had--it might have made it through our winter last year. I'm envious of your native plant source; the only source we have locally is a small section--and I do mean small--in one garden center.

    Still working on my WW post!

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    1. Rose, 'Homestead Purple' is a beauty and I think it's a darn shame more nurseries don't offer native plants. When I can't find what I want from GroWild, I do order from several online native nurseries. So far all the plants have survived from Sunlight Nursery in TN and Prairie Moon Nursery up there in the Mid-West! Happy plant hunting.

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  7. Verbena hastata grew wild at my old house. No wonder--needs moist soil! We have moist soil at the new house as well, but I haven't seen it here yet. We don't have open fields as we did at the old house, and that could be why.

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    1. I've not seen V hastata in the wild, but, will be paying closer attention to wet meadows from now on! Oh the plants one can grow when soil is moist!

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  8. Hmmmm that verbena sounds marvelous. Of course it looks marvelous too. Happy WW.

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    1. I wish you and Rose were here today to see that my garden is more than green!

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  9. The verbenas are great! Purple Homestead has been happy all over our garden. Although I've found that a few spots of it suffered this year from June's weather. Do you have one called Lilac Verbena? I got one from a plant swap a while back. It's been a constant performer.

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    1. Dave, I don't have that one! Is it a V canadensis cultivar? Are you propagating it? If so, put me on the list of buyers!

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  10. I just linked up my wildflower posting from earlier this week. If you have been already, go again, have had all the unknown plants IDed. Hooray!!!
    I remember the Verbena hastata when I visited my sister in Kansas. It is very cute. Our thick slimy clay would have to be amended a good deal to have either one do well. I did not know the history of Homestead, thanks for sharing it.

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    1. I am so glad you did janet and that you linked here...

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  11. I have the pink Verbena hastata. I grew it easily from seed about three years ago. It's just finishing up blooming. Interestingly, I decided to pick some for a bouquet. About three minutes after I brought it inside, the little flowers wiggled out of the stem and dropped into the sink. It was weird to see all these wiggly little flowers all at once. I'm curious if you've had this experience.

    Homestead Purple will not survive in my garden. It's too wet in the winter. However, have you grown Verbena rigida? Mine is also finishing up its bloom cycle right now. It will completely disappear in the winter and I wonder whether it will return or not. For the past three years, it has! It also seeds around and has formed a nice mound now. If you're interested, I can send you some seed when it's ripe.

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    1. Grace, Verbena rigida is a native to TN in one county~mine. I would love seeds. Thank you!. We have that wet winter issue, too and I have to work hard to give plants good drainage.

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  12. I love, love, love Verbena...all kinds! I also have a few varieties of Verbena rigida, that Grace mentions above...and they are really great plants...so tough!

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    1. I bet it looks wonderful with the grasses you love so much Scott!

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  13. Ah the purple of the verbena is a lovely counterpoint to the yellow rudbeckias!@

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    1. I need more purple to dance with the yellows!

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  14. That is, indeed, a beautiful purple shade of Verbena! And perfect compliment to the yellows in your garden. Not many wildflowers blooming in my garden right now--mostly planted natives, hybrids, and non-natives. Autumn is just around the corner!

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    1. Autumn is good and the ex-asters will be blooming like crazy.

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  15. Hi Gail,
    I would have had my post up earlier, if I hadn't messed with my blog, and in the process, messed it up. I can't remember which template I had. I am still planning on changing it when I get a chance.

    Years ago, I had a vervain of some kind. When I found 'Homestead Purple' I thought it was the same thing, but it didn't survive our zone 5b winter. A couple years ago, a friend gave me a clump from the roadside near her acreage. I don't remember if I've included it in a WW post. I need to. It's quite the spreader, but I've managed to keep it in the space I have for it. I like your new one, too.

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  16. Hi Gail, i've just returned to the net after a week of being sick, I wish i had some reserved wildflowers to link here! I love your purple flowers against the yellow background! Does the rudbeckia grow normally that tall? My blogger friend from the US sent me that too, but it's not as successful as the gaillardia in acclimatizing with our hot climate.

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  17. These verbenas are beautiful. I will have to do some investigative shopping. I always appreciate your knowledge and beautiful photography.

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  18. Beautiful photographs, beautiful flowers, I like to admire so beautiful views. I am greeting

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  19. I'll raise you one purple Dimorphothca jucunda to your purple verbenas. Mine draws butterflies.

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    1. I could do with more sun! Then we'll butterfly to butterfly! xo

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  20. Your V. hastatas are lovely, I am green with envy. I have tried to grow them from seed but have not succeeded as yet. After several years a V. bonariensis appeared by itself in my garden, so I am happy to have it at least. I am featuring Agastache aurantiaca and some native berry-producing shrubby plants this month.

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  21. I've always struggled with homestead. i used to have a variety come back from seed that was nice. Haven't seen it for a while however. There is a native verbena (not wooly but a ground cove type) that I will be searching for when in rains in some vacant lot prairies. Very nice post.

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    1. That verbena would be Verbena canadensis, rose verbena.

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  22. Couldn't you give me just one more zone on that Homestead? It's just too lovely to give up at the end of my season! Although sometimes I swear that my south facing border up against the house is my own little micro climate Zone 7 here in zone 6.

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    1. It probably is Robin. Maybe, you can protect it even more with fallen leaves and keep it going!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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