Common valerian, or Valeriana officinalis, is a great perennial plant which is very hardy, and has some practical uses in traditional herbal medicine.
It also has a lot of ornamental value, not just for adding height and variety into borders, but also to provide nectar for pollinators.
This plant is not to be confused with red valerian, which is part of the separate plant genus Centranthus.
Valerian likes plenty of moisture, so only plant it in soil which is constantly damp, perhaps at the back of a border or in shade.
It also does well as a border plant on the edge of water, such as a stream or pond.
As it can grow up to 1.5 meters tall, you may want to put it at the back of a border rather than the front.
This plant self-seeds vigorously, so it’s worth chopping any spent flower heads before they can form seed pods, in order to control the plant’s growth in your garden.
The verbena family includes many different species of plants, some of which have a strong scent, such as lemon verbena.
Many members of this family are native to parts of America and Asia. The one you’re probably familiar with, the common verbena (verbena officinalis), comes from Europe.
This particular verbena is a versatile plant which will self-seed readily, adding both height and bright violet hues into your garden.
Despite the spindly appearance of the long stems, verbena is a strong plant that will withstand winds without needing any support.
The clusters of tiny flower heads are favorites of pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Verbena is a perennial in zones 3 through to 8, requiring full sunlight, and well-draining soil.
There are about 500 species in the Veronica genus (see also our Veronica Genus Guide) in the plantain family, most of them found in the Northern Hemisphere.
Some of these species are popular garden plants, while others are used medicinally.
Veronicas, also known as speedwells, are great for most gardens.
There are a few types to choose from, including dwarf veronicas which do well as ground cover or rockery plants, veronicas which love boggy soil or ponds, and herbaceous perennials which add height and color into your garden.
These plants are easy to care for as long as you select a type which is suitable for your garden.
Flower heads can be long, clustered spikes of tiny florets, or they can consist of much bigger, individual flowers in shades of purple, blue, and pink.
Part of the moschatel plant family Adoxaceae, Viburnum is a genus of around 175 flowering plants, some evergreen, some deciduous, and most come from the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
Viburnums produce pink, or white flowers, some of which have a great perfume. These invite a lot of beneficial insects into your garden.
Depending on the species you go for, Viburnum can reach anywhere between 2 and 20 feet tall.
Most types like a lot of moisture, in a position of full sunlight or partial shade. Viburnums won’t be troubled by winter in zones 2 through to 9.
Iochroma cyaneum, or Violet churcu, is very popular with hummingbirds and other pollinators.
This plant is a part of the nightshade plant family, bearing trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of purple, and produces these odd flowers in spring and fall.
It is a frost tender plant, so you will need to place it somewhere sheltered if you live somewhere that gets freezing temperatures.
It can get between 3 and 8 feet tall, spreading up to 8 feet across, but there are some varieties that do well in containers, too.
As it flowers repeatedly and the foliage acts as a screen, it makes a good privacy plant.
As this plant is part of the nightshade family and a close relative to the poisonous angel’s trumpet, it is important to recognize that this plant is toxic, and handling it without protection is enough to cause problems.
Violet Wood Sorrel
Violet wood sorrel, Oxalis violacea, is a colorful perennial coming from the Oxalis family.
Its leaves are heart shaped, and its violet or white flowers grow in clusters on the stem.
It likes moist soils, appearing naturally in damp woodland in the US, and grows best when planted in groups in shady areas.
As it’s used to a lot of moisture, it won’t do well in gardens which don’t get a lot of rainfall.
This plant is vigorous, and will spread easily by producing runners. You can use it as a ground cover or a focal point, where it will add a natural element to soften any strict planting scheme.
A member of the borage plant family, Echium vulgare, Viper’s Bugloss or blueweed, hails from Europe and Asia.
This perennial can get between 30cm and 80cm tall, producing pink flowers which mature into a royal blue, in a large flower spike.
It is toxic to livestock and horses, and some places consider it an invasive species. It’s a very drought tolerant plant, and will grow in poor soil.