I thought I knew what verbena looked like. Tall and slender, with tiny clusters of purple flowers. Only it turns out there're different varieties of verbena. There's the tall and slender Verbena bonariensis, so beloved of garden designers at RHS Chelsea. Then there's Verbena rigida Venosa, which has the same purple flowers but in a compact version, about 30cm tall.
A Sunday afternoon stroll to the local horiticultural nursery and a modest £2.50 got me two more. On the left in the photo is Verbena Lanai Twister Pink. Described on its plant label as 'A compact plant with a trailing habit producing clusters of bright flowers. Ideal for window boxes, patio containers and borders.' Height reached should be between 10 and 20cm. Trails to 20cm. The colours are vivid, and I did wonder if they were a bit too gaudy, but actually in the softer evening light they look really pretty. On the right is Verbena Venturi Violet. This one's label tells us 'Compact plant with branching stems. Ideal for pots and containers. Remove dead blooms to encourage further growth.' Height s/b 35 to 50cm. Trails to 20cm. I love that deep violet colour, and it sits well in the blue glazed container.
I know I shouldn't have spent any more money on plants - I'm supposed to be in a thrifty frame of mind - but I'm not sorry I bought them. In fact I quite fancy trying to see how many varieties of verbena I can squish into my garden.
If verbena doesn't float your boat, what type of flower is guaranteed to get you reaching into your purse and parting with your pennies?
Moved from a garden-less city flat in the South West to a Yorkshire village in 2016. I now have a garden ... of sorts.