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Veronica spicata Speedwell Z 4-8
Blue spikes with a hint of lilac
Blue spikes with a hint of lilac, bloom from June through October, if deadheaded
Size: 24" x 18-24"
Care: Sun in moist well-drained to well-drained soil
Native: Hilly pastures in Europe and North Asia
Wildlife Value: attracts butterflies
According to Christian tradition, as Jesus carried the cross to Calvary a woman wiped his face with her handkerchief, leaving the imprint of Christ’s features, the vera iconica, meaning “the true likeness.” When the Catholic Church canonized the woman, the Church gave her the name Saint Veronica. Medieval gardeners named the plant after her due to a perceived likeness of the flower to her handkerchief. Veronicas have been in cultivation since at least Medieval times. Europeans made tea from V. spicata. In 1693 a symmetrical garden at Versailles used speedwell. V. spicata is a parent to many hybrid cultivars.
Yucca filamentosa Adam’s Needle, Silk grass Z 5-9
tall stalks bearing alabaster bells
Six foot tall stalks bearing alabaster bells tower over clumps of swordlike leaves with margins of curly threads in July and August.
Size: 30" leaves - 5' flower x 5'
Care: full sun, moist well-drained to well-drained soil. Drought tolerant
Native: New Jersey to Florida
Wildlife Value: It’s only pollinator is the Yucca moth and the Yucca is the only food source for the Yucca moth in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Awards: England's Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit; Cary Award Distinctive Plants for New England and Elisabeth Carey Miller Botanical Garden Great Plant Pick.
In 1596 Gerard named the genus Yucca from the incorrectly identified plant, the Iucca. Filimentosa is from the Latin filum meaning “thread” because of the threads on the leaf margins. Colonists cut the leaves of Y. filamentosa to make thread. Indians used the root as an ingredient in bread, to make suds for cleaning and the leaf fibers to make clothes. For the Cherokee it cured diabetes and skin sores, induced sleep in people and drugged fish for an easier catch. Tradescant the Younger collected this in Virginia before 1640. Both Gerard and Parkinson grew Yucca filamentosa in their personal gardens. Jefferson planted it in 1794 and called it “beargrass.”