Here in The Burrow, it is all sunshine all the time.( Just to be clear I am referring to the garden, not the gardener lol). There are very few shady spaces and that makes it easy to have waves of flowers season long in a brilliant blooming succession until a hard frost ends it all. The only issue I have found when planting in the sun is the dearth of great ground cover plants. So very many of my favorite ground covers are only happy in the shady parts of the garden and fry in my sun. I use many low growing sedums, dianthus, moss phlox and some of the smaller campanula varieties here and there , but it wasn’t until I discovered verbena ‘Annie!’ that I was truly impressed.
Most of you are familiar with the annual verbenas that come on the market here in in May used either in hanging baskets or a the trailing plants in containers. I love them and use them repeatedly, but they are gone at seasons end. This verbena introduction was a cutting taken from a woman’s garden ( the “Annie” in verbena ‘Annie!’) in Minnesota ( which is darn cold ) where it had been surviving the winters and blooming like a fool . High Country Gardens is the place to get it, and do so fast, it often sells out.
I planted 3 a few years ago , and now have an impressive spread.
Verbena ‘Annie!’ has deeply cut foliage and sweet lavender-purple blooms that appear in late April and will continue non-stop until a hard frost in late October. No, don’t check your glasses, I really said late April to late October non-stop. As it trails along the ground it roots where it touches the soil , thus creating a happy mass of ground hugging flowers or giving you new plants to spread around the garden if you dig them up. I transplanted a few last week that had trailed down into a walkway where they did not belong. They were in full bloom, and never missed a beat in the move. As if you could ask for more, it is also lightly fragrant, sort of reminiscent of the scent of summer sweet , and when planted en masse the fragrance will perfume the air . If you have just a few you may need to get down near the ground to smell it, which is one of the very few pleasures of weeding I guess.
The only problem I have ever had is that it will suffer from powdery mildew as the summer goes on in places that get a lot of overhead irrigation (in the drier areas it is fine). Although some of the foliage may look a little spotty you hardly notice as your attention is taken by all the flowers.