Speedwell

'Red Fox'
Spiked Speedwell


"When the storm was in the sky,
And the west was black with showers,
My Beloved came by
With His Hands full of flowers--
Red burning flowers,
Like flame that pulsed & throbbed--
And beyond in the rain-smitten bowers
The turtle-dove sobbed."

-May Probyn
(1881-1895)

   

This 'Red Fox' cultiver of Veronica spicata (aka V. spicatum) was planted early summer as a tiny start on a rockery ledge, where it immediately began to flourish in bright morning sun, afternoon shade, & little to moderate watering. Its nearest companions include Serbian bellflower which demands little water, & equally undemanding Purple Wood Spurge.

It is in full bloom by June, as shown in the second photo from late June 2004, showing also some of the Serbian bellflowers that spread dramatically in only one year. When 'Red Fox' begins to look spent, I deadhead it, & in August, it will have a second bloom. It is usually still in flower toward the end of September.

Speedwell The first photograph here was taken in August (2002) when the clump was much smaller. It clumps at an angle up to a foot & a half height, slightly denser & shorter than most of the cultivars that reach two feet, though there are also dwarf cultivars much smaller.

Each year it spreads a little more, but very, very slowly, though reliably. A mature clump of 'Red Fox' produces many rose-pink flower spikes. I've seen others labeled 'Red Fox' that were more of a wine red, but ours is not so dark.

Spiked Speedwell has several gardened varieties in white, blues, pinks, & reds. I'm about half intending to add a blue one nearby the red, but haven't as yet done so.

Because its native range is a vast sweep of Europe & Asia, & it is found in many different environments from Roumania to Siberia, gardened varieties are adaptable & hardy in many temperature & soil conditions, at once cold-hardy & heat-tolerant. I've found, however, that it gets a lot of dead foliage if it is placed in too bright of sun. A second clump that was in a much sunnier spot eventually had to be moved to a protected spot, where it stayed much more pleasing in dappled sunlight & moist well-draining soil.

   



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