H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Veronica Gentianoides - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Veronica Gentianoides Described.
Veronica Gentianoides - Syn. V. Gentianifolia; Gentian-leaved Speedwell; Nat. Ord. Scrophulariaceæ.
This is a distinct and pleasing species, viewed as a garden plant. It is very hardy, and one of the herbaceous kinds; it has been grown in English gardens nearly 150 years, and came originally from the Levant. It is pretty widely used, but it deserves a place in every garden; not only are its tall spikes of flowers effective during their season, but the foliage, compared with other Veronicas, is of a bright and plump character. The newly-formed tufts, which are somewhat rosette-shaped, have a fresh appearance throughout the winter, it being one of the few herbaceous subjects in which the signs of life are so visible in this climate.
The flowers are small-½in. in diameter—numerously produced on spikes 18in. high. They are blue, striped with light and dark shades; both calyx and corolla, as common to the genus, are four-parted, petals of uneven size. The flower spikes are finely developed, the flowers and buds occupying 12in. of their length, and tapering off to a point which bends gracefully. The buds are not less pretty than the flowers, resembling as they do turquoise in a deep setting of the calyx. The leaves are smooth, shining, and of much substance, 3in. to 6in. long, and 1in. to 2in. broad, lance-shaped, serrated, and sheathing. They are of a somewhat clustered arrangement close to the ground. Good pieces of this plant, 1ft. to 2ft. across, are very effective, and flower for a good while.
The rich and graceful spikes are of great value for vase decoration, one or two sufficing in connection with other suitable flowers.
There is a lovely variety of this species called V. g. variegata; in shape and habit it resembles the type though scarcely as vigorous, but not at all "miffy." The leaves are richly coloured pale green, white, and pink; and the flowers, as seldom occurs in variegated forms, are larger and more handsome than in the parent; in all respects, it is as useful, and, for forming an edging, perhaps more suitable than the common form.
Both kinds like a good fat loam and a moist situation; they may be grown either in borders or on rockwork, but specimens on the latter compare poorly with those grown otherwise; either they are too dry, or the soil gets washed from them, so that the new roots, which strike down from the surface-creeping stems, do not find the needful nourishment. Their increase is easily effected by division of the rooted stems any time after they have done flowering. If the season is droughty, they should be well watered.
Flowering period, May to July.
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