Blog Header

Blog Header

Saturday, 4 February 2012

My top garden plants - Verbena bonariensis

This is my joint no. 1 with Dill. Verbena bonariensis has so much going for it - it isn't edible but that's a good thing in my opinion! It's brilliant because it's beautiful, it's so easy to grow and when it is established it will self seed all over the place. It's a short lived perennial - it'll last maybe 2-3 years but as it self seeds you can easily just pull out old clumps of it and start again. It is quite happy to be dug up as a young plant, left in a pot for a couple of weeks and then planted out elsewhere. I give them away to friends like this. It won't blow over in the wind and as I mentioned on the dill posting it's a 'see through' plant and grows tall but doesn't swamp anything. 

One of the benefits to wildlife is that the blue tits seem to love its seeds - I am unsure why because the seeds are tiny, but in autumn they are often to be seen perching on the end of the flower stalk pecking away at the gone to seed flower head. I've only seen blue tits do this because the stem can just about take their weight and it's quite amusing seeing blue tits bouncing around on them!

This clump on the right is just self seeded in the gravel

Mostly though, this plant's main raison d'etre here is that it is my no. 1 butterfly magnet, and the flower that the Hummingbird Hawkmoth loves best too. 

If you find butterflies boring then don't bother looking any further...... (but how could you not love them?!)

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Red Admiral



In the photos on the right side bar that's a Small Copper on this plant as well.


  1. Great photos, Mandy. I particularly like the one drinking.

  2. Okay, I just SQUEED about the hummingbird moth. OMG! I've NEVER seen one. I'm a HUGE, wait that's an understatement, MASSIVE butterfly FREAK. That includes moths as well. I loved little winged critters.
    Once again your photos are lovely. May I ask what you shoot with, and what lens?

  3. NG - I'm really pleased you like my photos - I am no photographer (don't understand the technical side!), I just like to take snaps of what is going on around me, and the truth be told I can see these critters a lot better on my computer screen than I can in real life! I 'just' have a compact camera, a Sony Cybershot DSC-H55 which is great for the macro shots but not so good for anything very distant like birds, so I am getting very frustrated.... I see an upgrade to my husband's SLR coming up, as he has a decent telephoto lens, but it's older and only 6 megapixels whereas mine is 14. Hmmmmmm!

    By the way the first time I saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth it was in Geneva and I thought (like a lot of people I expect) it was a real hummingbird, then thought.... NOOOOO surely not in Europe! They are so fast and never stop flapping their wings at a million miles an hour and just dart around from flower to flower.... wonderful things :-)