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Unique new verbena

February 1st, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Verbena 'Showboat Mango Orange'

We’ve occasionally been looking at that splendid old Victorian magazine The Floricultural Cabinet over the last few months. As we leave January, I see that for the January 1852 issue the good Mr Joseph Harrison, who “conducts” the magazine, has commissioned “Orion” to discuss verbenas. They love pseudonyms in these old magazines….

“Verbenas stand very high in the estimation of the flower-loving world,” he reports, “and deservedly so, for what rival have they for filling beds on lawns? What is there that will make a grander display, from early in the season to quite the close?

“So various are the shades of colour that a splendid parterre may be laid out consisting entirely and exclusively of the Verbena…. Yellow is the only decided colour wanting; though new ones described as yellow, have been, I think, dishonestly put out only to prove dirty white or pale Primroses. But no more need be brought forward to prove the superiority of this many-coloured flower over every other, for bedding and other out-door purposes…”

And while yellow verbenas still prove elusive over a hundred and fifty years later, last year’s super-scented ‘Scentsation’ (from seed) brought as fragrance as never before combined with soft pastel colours and this year we have a new colour, never seen before: ‘Showboat Mango Orange’.

Voted second favourite by 3,500 professional and amateur visitors to the country’s largest annual flower trials (we’ll get to the favourite next time), this striking new colour features large umbels of brilliant mango-orange flowers with blushes of pink and brings a new colour choice to verbenas.

Valuable in baskets and tubs, and also as a front-of-the-sunny-border ground cover, why not give Verbena ‘Showboat Mango Orange’ a try and order some plants?