Super-scented new Italian verbena

Verbena 'Italian Blue' has colour and fragrance

The plants in the Mr. Fothergills range come from all over the world – some are developed at the Mr. F trial grounds in Cambridgeshire, some come from nearby nurseries and plant breeders, while others are from Australia, Africa, Asia, the Americas or far flung parts of Europe.

This latest newcomer was discovered almost by chance by Mr. F’s Plant Manager Tom Stimpson. He was visiting a grower in northern Italy last summer, looking over their new varieties, and before he left he was given a secret, behind-the-scenes tour of varieties that were still being assessed. There he spotted this superb new Italian verbena.

“I was hugely impressed by it,” he said, “not only because of its abundant, large flowers, but also by its vigour and habit.  It was as though it had been bred to be grown in a hanging basket because its shape was perfect. Another surprise was its sweet perfume, especially fragrant on that warm and sunny day.”

So, he brought a basket back from Italy – did he have to buy an extra seat for it on the plane? – so that he could assess how it performed here in Britain during the rest of the season. It passed with flying colours and without a hint of the mildew that sometimes ruins verbenas. It was christened ‘Italian Blue’ and is now available to order.

And take a look at the picture. You’ll notice that the individual flowers open in darker, slightly purplish blue tones and then become a clearer blue as they mature creating a lovely harmony of colours. And the tiny white eye gives the flowers real sparkle.

You can order plants of Verbena ‘Italian Blue’ from Mr. Fothergill’s now.  Last order date for this year is 30 April.   ‘Italian Blue’ is not available in garden centres – or anywhere else except from Mr. Fothergill’s.

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