Tough Plants – Salvia nemorosa

While the winter is still in gear I thought it might be helpful to begin reviewing some of the toughest plants I have grown over the years. I've grown a lot of them (and killed a few of them along the way). In my garden it has to be a tough plant to survive over the years. Today I'm going to mention one of my all time garden favorite perennials: salvia. I'm not talking about the annual salvia that a lot of folks use as a bedding plant. I'm talking about the Salvia nemorosas of the world. The 'May Night' salvias, the 'Caradonna Salvia', or the 'East Friesland' salvias are the toughest salvias I have grown. All three of these salvia varieties have been planted in my garden and all three have survived neglect, transplanting, drought, rabbits, and deer. Let me be clear here, I don't take care of my…

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Planting Ideas: Salvia with a Red Backdrop

On my trip to the Vizcaya gardens in Miami I saw this salvia and thought it was a perfect way to display it - against a red backdrop.  This salvia was located in front of a large patio area made from limestone blocks facing Biscayne Bay.  The faded red from the side of the patio is offers a perfect contrast for the salvia blooms! The garden designer here must have been inspired.  Salvia is a great plant for attracting butterflies and pollinators. This is most likely Salvia leucantha or Mexican Bush sage.  It grows best in zones 8-11 but can be grown as an annual in cooler climates.  Salvia can be propagated through cuttings or from seed.

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Three Favorite July Flowers

It's always nice to have a few flowers that are so extremely reliable that you can count on them even during the most awkward periods of weather.  Recently it's been raining which has been helping us recover from our drought but these flowers were doing great in the drought conditions.  Let's take a look! Orange cosmos is always a standout.  I haven't planted it in a while.  Cosmos is a prolific self sower, but not to the extreme that the beautiful orange flower can't be controlled.  It's a great flower for attracting beneficial insects!   'Black and Blue' salvia gets fairly large and spreads by its roots but will always have a place in my garden.  I've always been a big fan of salvia in general (see my posts Salvias of Fall or How Much Salvia is Enough?) but Black and Blue stands out to me with its dark stems…

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