Hebe – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
These are the Shrubby Veronicas, still sometimes listed in catalogues under Veronica, though the name Hebe has now become more familiar to gardeners. Certainly it serves to distinguish these evergreen shrubs from their hardy herbaceous relatives.
There are many varieties, most of them from New Zealand, but not all are hardy and it is unfortunate that the tender ones have the brightest coloured. However, the hardier kinds are beautiful, free-flowering shrubs and well worth their place.
One of the finest that is known is ‘Mid-summer Beauty’ that reaches about 4 feet tall. ‘Autumn Glory’, which actually comes into flower in summer and goes on until October, makes a widespread bush, about 1-1/2 feet high, with rich violet-blue flowers carried in short spikes.
Hebe brachysiphon (Hebe traversii) is the commonest kind, often used for purposes in coastal areas, but a fine specimen by itself when given room to develop. It reaches 5-6 feet and has multitudes of white flowers in short spikes. ‘White Gem’ is an improved dwarf form.
Hebe elliptica, also useful for hedging, is reasonably hardy. This makes a symmetrical, dome-shaped shrub and has mauve or sometimes very pale, almost white flowers. Its form variegata is more handsome as the leaves have broad creamy-white edges. Another fine variegated hebe is Hebe X andersonii variegata, eventually 4-5 feet tall, but often seen at about a foot, used for foliage effect in summer bedding in public parks, especially in coastal towns.
These hebes make few demands on the, growing well in quite poor kinds and those containing much chalk. They stand up well to salt-laden winds.