By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s back! A perennial favorite in my garden is a purple powerhouse that’s been blooming for weeks already – Verbena.

You often see annual Verbena used in hanging baskets since it has a pretty way of cascading over the sides. The perennial Verbena I’ve planted is a native variety called ‘Homestead Purple’ and to be honest, I’m not sure if the original plants come back every year or not because it seeds in so nicely that I get plenty of plants anyway. It certainly qualifies as what’s called a ‘hardy volunteer’ – those happy plants that leave seeds behind to readily sprout up the following spring – as long as you don’t use weed preventers that keep seeds from germinating.

I find this Verbena loves to reseed in the warmest garden spots, along the edging stones that hold the heat of the sun, where I collect hundreds of seedlings every May. I pinch them out while they’re teensy and replant them all over – in planters and windowboxes, along flower beds, and under roses or other shrubs with bare ankles; just about any sunny spot where I’d like a lovely summer groundcover with loads of lavender flowers that last for weeks – that’s Verbena ‘Homestead Purple.’

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