Verbena bonariensis grows tall and wiry, and is topped with abundant clusters of mauve flowers which are hugely attractive to butterflies and bees alike. It has long been one of my favourite plants, and fits well into almost any scheme, with a lengthy flowering period which carries on well into November if the weather is fairly mild. The flowers themselves have a luminescence which is very apparent on duller days, when their colour seems to become more intense.
The enclosed garden includes a four seater hot tub for the exclusive use of guests in the Tack Room, and in order to enhance the experience of an evening enjoying this facility, I have used scented plants close by, such as Choisya ternata for spring, Philadelphus and Jasmine for the summer months and winter flowering honeysuckle and Christmas box for winter time.
Year round interest is provided with a succession of plants; Springtime tulips and alliums, groundcovering Bugle and shade loving Alchemilla mollis filling out the space during summer and Anemone japonica ‘Honorine Jobert’ in autumn, whose pure white flowers glow at dusk and stand out beautifully against the weathered brickwork of the old barn behind. Grasses such as Stipa arundinacea (Pheasant Tail grass) and statuesque Miscanthus have been used to link everything together and add form and movement. And of course, not forgetting the Verbena, which is now escaping its bounds, and spilling out into the farm yard beyond!
With a table and chairs on the paved terrace, the garden is perfect for a quiet evening drink or al fresco dining in a peaceful and private setting.
by Cathy Jefferies