V

Vaccinium corymbosum  see  Blueberry

Vatricania (Espostoa) guentherii   young soldiers  evetually a tall, clustering, mostly unbranched columnar cactus with dense and relatively (!) soft white spines. It reaches about 10' tall in cultivation and can be grown in the ground in warmer areas of Southern California with very good drainage. Usually it is seen as a small to large container plant. When over about 4' tall it is mature enough to produce small, shallowly cup-shaped creamy white flowers at night during the warm season. The buds emerge from a zone of unusual and attractive reddish fur-like spines that form on the south side of the upper third to quarter of the stem. Like most night blooming cacti the flowers usually only last one night except during unusually cool, foggy periods. Mostly this is grown not for the flowers but because it is one of the faster of the "furry whiuet column" class of cacti and because the flower-fur is interesting and unusual. Sun to half shade, typical cactus soil, watering, and drainage. Not cold hardy - outside in Sunset zones 21-24, house/patio plant everywhere. rev 6/2012  

Verbena  annual and perennial herbs. Verbenaceae. rev 10/2011

bonariensis 'Lollipop'    flowers!!!    a much more petite, manageable version of the 6' original, to only 2' tall and about 3' wide. It produces clouds of light purple flowers from spring through fall. The open stems reach up so you can plant it close to lower border varieties, and the flowers add action to the garden in the form of fluttering butterflies and brawling hummingbirds. Sun and average watering. Sunset zones 3-9, 14-24/USDA 7. rev 10/2011 

canadensis ‘Homestead Purple’    closeup    civic planting with California Poppies    another wall of flowers    a really satisfying variety, fast, reliable, incredibly showy. Grows as an herbaceous perennial groundcover, evergreen in milder areas, bears large spikes of rich purple flowers from spring through late fall. Sun to part shade, average watering. rev 10/2011

'EnduraScape'   'Purple', end of day    'White'   'Red'    "tougher than the rest":  heat, powdery mildew, temperatures in the low teens, and blooming all season with nice, big flower clusters. 8-12" tall, 18-24" wide for sun and average watering. Terrific groundcover, spills over walls and pots, or spot it in your garden for some lively color. Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-24/USDA 8. rev 5/2015

‘Tapiens’ TM    Pink    Blue-Violet    Lavender    an outstanding series of hybrids resembling and probably involving V. tenuisecta, with dark green finely cut foliage and strongly prostrate habits. Flowers range from dark purple through red, rose pink, salmon pink, soft pink, light lavender and pale blue. Sun to half shade, average watering, not reliably frost hardy below 25-28°F. Great in hanging baskets. They take trimming well, and respond with thickened habit and renewed flowering. Mildew-free for us in our cool, foggy climate. Patented, unauthorized propagation prohibited. rev 10/2011

Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’    SPEEDWELL    flowers    a creeping perennial to 12" tall that bears tiny, round deep blue flowers with white centers in late spring and summer. Great in containers. Sun, average watering, considered frost hardy enough for almost all of California. Asia, Asia Minor. rev 1/2013
‘Waterperry’    closeup    creeping evergreen perennial to 4" tall, 2-3' across bears sprays of tiny light lavender blue flowers almost all year. Sun to part shade, good drainage, average watering. Frost hardy to at least 20°F. Scrophulariaceae. rev 1/2013

Viola adunca 'Alba Road' WESTERN DOG VIOLET  blooming clump   this is an outstanding local Santa Cruz Mountains native, from Alba Road, above Ben Lomond. Most of our local popluations have been extirpated, unfortunately. Ray Collett, former Director of the Arboretum at UCSC, has been instrumental in helping to popularize the virtues of this vanishing local form, as well as other noteworthy local plant subjects. It forms a little clump of heart shaped leaves and produces rose pink flowers all spring. Nice spotted around the herb garden or under shrubs, it is tough as nails when established as long as it is planted in mostly shade and gets a decent amount of winter rain. To only to 3" tall, spreading modestly by runners. Part sun or shade. Average to little watering. Sunset zones 1-9, 14-24/USDA 4. US. Violaceae. rev 6/2011

alba 'Parma Double'    can you smell it?    its baa-aaaaack! One of the loveliest smells on earth! Better than baking bread because you don't want to eat this one. Dark lavender petals on heart shaped leaves form a little mound with offsets. Rich, moist soil in a shady spot. Groundcover or in containers, you'll want this fragrance close to you. Sunset zones 4-9, 14-24/USDA 5. Central Europe, Mediterranean. rev 9/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Molly Sanderson'   black flowers   not just for Halloween, this little black violet is for winter and spring too. It blooms as long as the weather stays cool. Velvety black petals show a small, dark yellow eye. Plants grow as a small clump, 6-8" tall and 12" wide. Stands out against grey foliage and looks great with grassy leaves. This is a hardy perennial for sun or part shade, good soil, and regular watering. All Sunset zones/USDA 6. rev 6/2011-Suzy Brooks

odorata 'Blue Remington'    very close    dark green, heart shaped leaves, rich blue flowers with a white center, all in a small package that can adorn the herb or vegetable garden and generate tidy little bouquets for windowsills. A big bloomer in spring and again as it cools off in fall. Stays under a foot tall and likes regular waterings if possible. Nice at the base of shrubs or mixed in the flower bed. Sun to part shade. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. rev 9/2011-Suzy Brooks

Vriesea sanguinolenta   nice one   a big, bold, dramatic accent plant for your house, patio, porch or deck, anywhere there's enough frost-free space for a stunning, intimidatingly large, impressive, bragging-rights foliage container specimen. Eventual size is 4' or more across by 3' tall, with a 4-5' tall flower spike at maturity. To achieve this all it needs is happiness, which is gained by using a loose planting mix or potting soil, , giving it about half-sun exposure or full, bright shade (for best color), and keeping its central cup filled with water. About once a month empty or flood the old water out and refill with a half strength solution of soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro or its equivalent. Empty the cup completely in late November, only refilling if the plant starts to shrivel. Once recovered empty again, and keep this up until temps stop falling below about 40F. Plants can rot if held cold and wet, plus this winter-dry rest period mimics the plants natural cycle as well as acting as a stress trigger for the flowering sequence. Recent research revealed that bromeliads such as this one were the stars for removing VOC (volatile organic compounds, i.e. formaldehyde, acetone, etc.) from the interior environments of buildings and homes. Sunset zones 8-9, 15-17 (all with frost protection), 22-24/USDA 10. rev 2/2017