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May 20, 2012

Verbascum, Cottage garden hardy perennials

by Val Reynolds

I can’t keep up with Thompson & Morgan! Verbascums, a favourite background filler for flowerbeds, have always been yellow! Then last year T&M brought out Clementine, a golden/bronze beauty. The plug plants I received grew strongly are now blooming rather well in May a year later.

Verbascum Clementine flowering in May 2012

Verbascum Clementine flowering in May 2012

Then a blue verbascum, Blue Lagoon, came on the market and I had to have some, especially to plant with Clementine as they would make a great contrast.

Verbascum Blue Lagoon

Verbascum Blue Lagoon

I have always loved delphiniums but like many other gardeners find my slugs love them even more and plants have always been decimated, always when my hopes were riding high for a fabulous display. So I ordered two plug plants £9.99 each or 2 for £17.99 to make up for my disappointing attempts to grow delphiniums. As they only arrived three weeks ago and won’t be anywhere near mature until next spring I will plant them in larger pots for the time being, making sure I use my outstandingly good labeller so they don’t become the pots that I wonder what’s in them!

Blue Lagoon has been developed using specialist micro-propagation techniques. It has the same characteristics as its fellow verbascums: low maintenance and well adapted to growing in poor, stony soils. It should grow to about 30 inches high and spread out for about 12 inches. Flowering from June through to September they like full sun. Although my garden loses it by 2 pm, Clementine is doing very well. Verbascums spread their leaves flat to the ground – a remarkably useful weed control feature.

Pink Pixie 2012 Verbascum

Pink Pixie 2012 Verbascum

Then I heard of yet another new verbascum – Pink Pixie. Spoilt for choice! I’ve decided to get some to grow with the aquilegia Green Apples, again it will be a good contrast and I’m hoping the height difference will add to its impact. I’ll be sure to space the verbascum plants far enough apart so as not to smother the aquilegia.

All the verbascum cost £9.99 each or £17.99 for two plants that come in 7cm pots. See T&M webpages for more details 

Val Reynolds, Editor

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