A new variety of Veronica began to bloom in my garden during the third week of June. It started out as a one gallon potted perennial that I received in a shipment from my supplier last season. It was not on my original shopping list. However, the freight charges were so high for the inventory needed, that I decided to increase the size of my order to amortize delivery cost.
By paging through the supplier’s catalogue, I was able to identify plants that appeared to have potential in designing flower gardens. As usual, I looked for height, color saturation, or prolonged bloom period. Finding a perennial with all three attributes would have been a pleasant surprise.
That season, I had become sensitive to purple when I contracted to design a flower garden for a client who loves any shade or tone in that family. Veronica Purpleicious, a new introduction, piqued my interest for its color, a vivid purple-mauve, and its declared bloom period, June to August. Some sellers say it will bloom until September. I suppose that applies to those who garden in warmer climates.
Similar to most perennials delivered directly from growers and nurseries, Purpleicious had been pumped with plant food to ensure impressive flowering. I did not pay attention to that attribute. Experience had taught me that plant steroids, as I call them, enhance both the height and volume of a newly delivered flowering perennial to an extent that the gardener might be disappointed the following season, when the plant reverts to its genetically predetermined performance level.
That is why I am pleased that Purpleicious is as spectacular in year two as it was when it first arrived. The greatest surprise is not that it repeats last season’s stellar performance, but that it has already doubled in volume in a very dignified manner. Some perennials become problematic when they begin to sprawl or invade. However, regal color, neat mound, and disciplined upright posture of flowering spikes make this plant’s exponential growth welcome.
The supplier’s catalogue informed that this plant will spread to a width of only 18 inches. Now, that’s what I call a neat plant! I suspect that mine has already reached that potential and I am pleased. In rounded volume of its clump and plush textural quality of floral spikes, this perennial adds substantial architectural presence to the flowerbed. The intenseness of its unique medium-light purple is also welcome as it enhances and complements the traditional colors that define English-inspired gardens.
Veronica Purpleicious may reach 2 feet in height depending on growing conditions. No matter! What it lacks in stature it compensates for in saturation, texture, volume, and overall presence. The best news to garden designers is that growers declare it will bloom for most of the summer. However, that fact still requires corroboration. If it lives up to that promise, attractive flowerbeds couldn’t get better than that! Following that, if long-term sustainability in the garden can be determined, this plant will go from exciting to spectacular.