In a Vase, On Monday- Bronze Fennel

Every Monday, Cathy at Rambling In The Garden encourages us to share a vase highlighting what is growing in our gardens. I wanted to take possibly the last opportunity to include Verbena bonariensis in my vase – it’s an annual that I had seen over the past few years featured in quite a few European gardening blogs, and I also wanted to try and showcase Bronze Fennel – Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ – something I tried to grow this year because it is said to attract swallowtail butterflies. It hasn’t done that well – taking a long time to germinate and then growing very slowly; I only have a half dozen plants and they are no taller than eight inches (about 20 cm). But, seeing as our late summer drought shows no sign of ending (although we did have a ml or two of rain this morning) and, since the rain barrels are all but empty, the annuals in the garden are starting to quickly wither and fade away. Such is life.

Here’s my vase this week: a return to Ikebana, with a ladder of the smallest Zinnia blooms I could find, backed by a few sprigs of fennel and a single branching Verbena sticking up and out. Have a great day everyone!


  1. This is lovely, Chris, and the young fennel works so well with the zinnias and verbena. I grew this fennel once but it got so big and seeded about so much I took it out. V bonariensis is a short-lived perennial here, but seeds about nicely. I like to see your ikebana arrangements so thanks for sharing this

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  2. I’m sorry that you’re struggling with drought too. After previously failing with Verbena bonariensis, I’m trying a dwarf variety this year called ‘Lollipop’, which has done relatively well. Maybe Verbena likes living on the edge of thirst?

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  3. A most creative vase, I love it! The fennel is just adding that special something. Verbena is doing very well in my drought-stricken garden, better though in good soil. Mulching, mulching, mulching makes all the difference. Still I wish it’d rain as things are slowly starting to suffer. Happy September days!

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  4. Beautiful. 😃 I do like your ikebana vases. Verbena does well in drought here too, but we have had the opposite problem this year with too much rain! It is finally drying up a bit now. Hope you get some rain soon.

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  5. I had the same problem with Bronze Fennel in Atlanta, though there were some huge and beautiful examples around. My gardens are always too well drained. The Swallowtails like parsley as well and that is what mine eat. Love the Ikebana concept – ladder of Zinnias is a wonderful description.

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    1. I had a bunch of parsley come back this spring and bolt almost immediately – I’m guessing it’s a biennial – but I haven’t seen any caterpillars at all on them, despite large numbers of swallowtail butterflies flitting about over the past month or so. Strange…

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      1. I have been growing Giant of Italy Heirloom Parsley. Slow growing but has lasted a couple of years here.. planted 2019 and still going.. very deep flavor. Swallowtail caterpillar have some crazy host plants citrus here farmers hate them.

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