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Plant of the week: Veronica prostrata ‘Goldwell’ (creeping speedwell)

WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT

In most gardens, a good edger is worth its weight in gold, but one that has such distinctive green and gold foliage in a soft, low clump, as this plant does, is invaluable. These days, hipper-looking edgers such as creeping speedwell are giving traditional ones, from lamb's ears (Stachys spp) to ajugas, greater competition. There are forms of the species that you wouldn't want in the garden because they are so invasive. But not this cultivar. It's gorgeous. The violet-blue flowers contrast well with yellow-edged, dark-green leaves. It's very near to perfect.

WHERE TO PLANT IT

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It looks like a plant that would only survive in the sun, but look again. This riot of colour will work in both sun and part shade (that does mean it should get a few hours of sun every day). Even unfavourable soil such as a sandy gravel will allow it to thrive. Water regularly for the first few months in Zone 5, then let it survive on nature's bounty. It's only 15 centimetres high, with a spread of 45 centimetres.

WHAT IT OFFERS

For the rock-garden lover, this is a great little plant because it comes in low, tight mats. It's a butterfly magnet as well as being a pretty face. I put it in a container with a dwarf evergreen and it's a stunning combination. It will work just as well out in the garden itself. The blue is enticing and has become a favourite; come autumn, I'll divide it up and spread it around wherever a good edger is required.

SOURCE AND COST

Find it for $15.99 at commercial nurseries including Fiesta Gardens in Toronto (www.fiestafarms.ca).

For more plant and garden information, visit www.marjorieharris.com.

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