VERONICA Speedwell

The Garden Speedwells have a remarkable range of heights – you can buy alpine varieties which grow no more than 1 in. high or border plants which reach 5ft. The flowers are borneon tall and narrow spikes and most species appreciate moisture-retentive soil. The main enemy is poor drainage – waterlogging in winter is the usual cause of death. Mulch in spring and water when the weather is dry. Provide support for tall-growing species and cut stems back in autumn.

VARIETIES: The earliest to flower is the pale blue V. gentianoides (height 2 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: May-June). V. incana flowers a little later (height 1-1/2 ft. Spacing 1 ft.

Flowering period: June-July) – look for its silvery leaves and blue flowers. ‘Wendy’ is a popular hybrid. V. spicata grows to the same height as V. incana and flowers at the same time, but its leaves are green and its flowers may be pink or white as well as blue. One of the brightest of all Veronicas is V. teucrium ‘Crater Lake Blue’ (1.5 ft. ultramarine) and the popular tall one is V. virginica Alba’ (5 ft. white).

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives in sun or light shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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