Taking about veronicas has always been tricky since they are such a varied bunch. Some are lovely garden plants while many more are pernicious weeds. Now that hebes have all been moved to veronica (again) they are even more varied. I have always admired the vertical accents of Veronica spicata, even though it does suffer too much from mildew for me to embrace it with great sincerity and pop it into a bed here. And I love the variegated form of V. gentianoides but the flowering season is rather short.
But I can find no fault with V. umbrosa (formerly V. peduncularis) ‘Georgia Blue’. This was collected in Georgia (eastern Europe, not US state) by Roy Lancaster in 1979 and has become a popular garden plant. The foliage is more or less evergreen, tinted with purple in winter and spring and it starts to bloom early in spring, then maintaining a long succession of rich blue flowers. It flowers for many months and continues to bloom, sporadically for most of late summer and autumn. It is low and wider than tall and slowly makes dense clumps. I ought to see if it roots easily if pegged down. It grows in sun or part shade but flowers best in sun. I had my plant for a year in a pot while I was dithering about where to plant it. I decided that one of the raised beds would be right, though average soil is usually OK.
Not quite as blue, pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’ is making quite a show. Now in her second year, being planted as a tiny scrap last spring, she is a neat, dense mound of flowers. Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers (UK) found this in 1995 and named it after his wife. It is generally considered among the best of all pulmonarias and is popular on both sides of the Atlantic. The flowers are large and showy and the leaves heavily silvered. I need more than one pulmonaria in the garden but if I was restricted to just one it might be this – but I need more!