I like seed catalogues and seed lists from garden societies. I enjoy trying out new plants from seed – you never know what you may find. So it came as no real surprise to find, about four years ago, that the Veronica kiusiana seed that I had bought, because it’s a delightful plant – upright, wedgewood blue flowers in summer and gorgeous butter-yellow foliage in autumn-wasn’t. Not only was it not kiusiana but it wasn’t like any sort of Veronica in our nursery.
It grew really slowly from seed, taking three years to develop and another year before it flowered. It has silvery foliage, almost white on the reverse, a woody stem which tends to grow laterally in a rather ungainly manner when potted, and then – finally – a spire of intense blue flowers in October. Right now, it’s still in full flower in our nursery garden, (see photo taken yesterday) and therefore, since the nursery is closed and we haven’t been out to a plant sale since the middle of August, it is hardly a best seller!! It should be. Who wouldn’t like a plant in flower in late autumn?
I have made several forays onto the internet to try to identify it but nothing really struck a chord until the day we received some plants from the Hardy Plant Society – The Conservation Scheme. We have been asked to grow on and assess some of the plants on their list, and one of these was Veronica ornata. It’s still too early to make a positive identification, but it looks awfully like my mystery plant. Watch this space – well, don’t bother for the next 12 months, because it could be a while before our HPS plant shows it’s true colours. But that’s gardening for you, isn’t it?