Three New Native Plants for Our Front Garden
The first plants have arrived for fall planting. Yay! All are sun-lovers destined for the front garden.
Two of these newcomers are closely related: Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata) and Hoary Vervain (V. stricta).
Both have blue flower spikes that bloom in late summer. Both have an upright habit. Both are host plants for Buckeye butterflies.
The main difference is that Blue Vervain likes more moisture and grows taller (3-6′) than Hoary Vervain (2-4′). I saw Hoary Vervain in July at the garden of Rhonda Hayes, author of Pollinator Friendly Gardening, during the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling.
The third newbie is something completely different: Wild Senna (Cassia hebecarpa): a large, slightly tropical-looking plant with yellow pea-like summer flowers. It’s also a host for Cloudless Sulphur butterflies.
The real challenge regarding these plants is figuring out where to put them. I’m thinking that the Blue Vervain will go next to the Blue Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis) at the south end of the Driveway Border. It should provide some late-season blue to balance the Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). The other blue plants in that part of the bed all seem to give up blooming by early July.
The Hoary Vervain might end up replacing the Ohio Spiderwort(Tradescantia ohiensis) at the east end of the Parkway Bed. And the Wild Senna will go to the far end of the L-shaped sidewalk bed, in the spot farthest from the sidewalk (the longer part of the L stretches along the sidewalk, and the shorter part along the boundary with the neighbor’s yard).