While reading a magazine that comes from across the pond, the UK version of The English Garden, an article was noticed in the March 2012 issue, “SPEEDWELL & the song bird”, written by Chris Beardshaw. This is part of his series on native plants and wildlife. The Speedwell of which he speaks so eloquently is Veronica hederifolium. (The song bird is the song thrush.) He writes:
“Considered one of the most problematic of annual weeds..it is often best to simply accept it. Its very presence testifies to the high quality of the soil structure and fertility, so we should perhaps see its occurrence as the ultimate compliment”
It is good to see that the Brits are finally being advised to stop doing battle against their native
weeds er, wildflowers. That has been the method here for some time. I recognized this wildflower that had originated in Europe and made the trek, or sail, across the pond to land in Tennessee. (At least I think this is what it is.)
Home it came to the Fairegarden, planted in a couple of places to see how it would behave.
It is an annual and produces mass quantities of seeds, according to the magazine article, but the seedlings pop up here only sparingly. It is a beautiful thing, as are all of the Veronica clan. Several are grown here and are given the best of treatment, including the groundcover Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’, also blooming now. Note the similarity in flower color and form. So says Mr. Beardshaw:
“Dainty flowers…are carried singularly, each one four petalled and flushed with azure blue parallel brush marks. At the centre, a diminutive white ring indicates the presence of the nectaries, stamen and style, the former offering rewards to aphid-munching ladybirds…”
The British certainly know how to turn a fancy phrase with flourishes, especially when it comes to writing about gardening, it is true. But while their wildflowers are the stuff of myths and legends, North America has some beauties of its own, now coming into view. Claytonia virginica and Antennaria ssp. were spied while we had the camera in hand, rooting around under fallen leaves for surprises.
For more about wildflowers, featured on the fourth Wednesday of every month, and appreciated every single day of the year, check out Gail at Clay And Limestone!