May 1, 2009

Versatile Verbena Connects Companions

Verbena canadensis 'Homestead Purple' is a versatile perennial for months of great blooms. I have a mass planting growing on a slope in the butterfly garden where she serves as a pivotal plant surrounded by different companions.

Above the verbena, I grow bronze fennel as a host plant for butterflies. Verbena is also a great nectar plant for attracting butterflies and bees in the garden.

The light blue spring flowers of amsonia hubrichtii show up well with verbena as the backdrop on the slope.

From another view, the spires of salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna' mix with the spheres of the verbena in color harmony.

Right now, the companions provide cool colors. As the summer heats up, so will the color scheme as the yellow flowers of hypericum, orange flowers of echinacea and crocosmia as well as the red flowers of monarda begin to bloom.

Verbena 'Homestead Purple' likes full sun and well-drained soil in zones 6-9. This is a great ground-covering plant that looks good from spring until frost in my zone 7b garden. I have recently added this purple verbena along our guest parking area where the conditions are particularly hot and dry.

I like this verbena because of the long bloom season of purple that works so well with other perennials, annuals and shrubs. This verbena, planted in 2007, has been reliably deer and rabbit resistant. It is a relatively easy and inexpensive plant to find at garden centers and nurseries in my area.

Story and photos by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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