VERONICA or SPEEDWELL

P. Indispensable herbaceous and shrubby plants, some hardy, others half-hardy. All the herbaceous ones do well in seaside gardens, are increased by division in spring, and require an open, sunny position. Any soil suits, provided it is enriched with peat, compost etc. to conserve moisture and drainage is sound. The dwarf kinds are excellent for rockeries and dry walls.

Recommended Herbaceous Veronicas:

V. exaltata: bright blue flowers in early autumn. Height 3 — 4 ft.

V. gentianoides: light blue flowers in May and June. Height 18 in.

V. incana Wendy: deep blue flowers in June. Height 18 in.

V. Kelleri: only 2 in. high. Deep blue flowers in May and June.

V. longifolia subsessilis (hendersoni): gentian-blue flowers on an 18 in plant from July to September. V. I. s. alba is a little taller and glistening white. Blue Peter is violet-blue, also taller.

V. spicata: an ideal plant for the front of the border. The varieties like Minuet (pure pink) and Barcarolle (rose-pink) reach about 1 ft.

Recommended Shrubby Veronicas:

All are evergreen and increased by cuttings in early summer.

Autumn Glory: rich violet-blue flowers from August to October. Height 2 ft. with a spread of 4 ft.

V. hulkeana: the most beautiful species but only successful on a warm wall, except in very mild localities. Pale lavender-blue flowers in 1 ft. long panicles during May and June. Grows to about 5 ft.

V. speciosa La Seduisante (Diament): bright crimson flowers on a 4 ft. plant in late summer.

Simon Delaux: another crimson.

Purple Queen: self-descriptive. All these last three are tender.

V. traversii (brachysiphon): reaches 5 ft. and higher near the sea. The white flowers are very freely produced in July. This is the hardiest species.

VIBURNUM, GUELDER ROSE or SNOWBALL TREE FLOWERING SHRUB. Viburnums do well on most soils and the winter-flowering species like V. fragrans deserve to be grown more widely. Some kinds can be layered (especially fragrans) but 4 in. long cuttings taken in July and rooted in a cold frame are generally easier. V. burkwoodii is evergreen with white flowers in early April. It is usually 6 ft. X 6 ft. and does well against a wall, especially in town gardens. Park Farm Hybrid has a more spreading habit than the type. V. carlesii is deciduous, flowering a little later. It grows about 4 ft. high, the white and pink blooms being extremely fragrant. Unfortunately this shrub does not do well everywhere and the shoots are rather liable to injury by spring frosts. The newer V. juddii may prove more amenable. V. fragrans (deciduous) blooms at intervals from autumn to early spring. The very fragrant white flowers are delightful for cutting, though sometimes spoilt by frost. V. bodnantense appears more frost-resistant.

V. opulus sterile is the native guelder rose which has white flowers in June followed by red fruits. The foliage colours well in autumn. This grows to about 8 ft. There is a rather more vigorous form known as Notcutt’s Variety, also one with yellow fruits.

VINCA or PERIWINKLE:

P. Well-known, trailing evergreens which are excellent for ground cover, especially in shady positions. Easily increased by division. Vinca major bears large, bright blue flowers all summer. V. minor is a smaller edition of this species. V. difformis has slaty-blue flowers in winter. It appreciates some slight shade.

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