Salvia: A Variety That Should Be Forbidden

The sage is altogether an amiable plant; indeed, its Latin name, Salvia, comes from salvere, to save, or heal, and one of its nicknames is S. slavatrix, which sounds very reassuring….The garden sages are useful for the herbaceous border.  I do not mean that half-hardy bedding-out plant beloved of the makers of public gardens, S. splendens, which should be forbidden by law to all but the most skilful handlers.

-Vita Sackville-West
A Joy of Gardening, 1958

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Pictured above: Salvia Splendens (Wikipedia)

I can see what she means about this Salvia Splendens.   I was thinking I would plant some annual salvia in my pots this summer.  But rather I was picturing the purple long stems of Salvia Cathedral.

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Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the only colors I can tolerate right now are subtle.  I seem be drawn to purple, white and yellow.   It’s different every year.  It just comes over me and I must immerse myself in certain colors.  One year I planted only red, white and blue flowers.  I was going for an all American theme that time, I thought it looked very cool.

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There is also a perennial Salvia, Foglers has a good batch right now.  In fact, they have good healthy lot of many things.  I would advise checking them out.  But if you are looking for the annual Salvia which is the focus of this post, I would go to Bordine’s.  They’re batch is looking very healthy, as you can see from the photos.

Whether it’s a fragrance or a hedge to keep out the bunnies, or if the plants can be harvested in someway, dried and be given as a gift or kept for your own enjoyment, or cooking, what have you, it is all the better if they can be of use in some way.  When I choose flowers, shrubs or trees, I try my best to adhere to this rule.  They can’t just sit and look pretty, they have to do something for me.  Salvia fits perfectly into the arena of “provider”.

Salvia, can give pleasant dried batches of color that last all winter long.  Simply harvest the amount of stems you would like, tie them together and hang them upside down in your kitchen or mudroom and they make for a nice display while slowly expending their moisture.  You really can’t go wrong.  My Grandmother will dry a little batch of her Salvia and present them to me in the fall tied with a precious twine bow.  It makes for a dainty gift of care and effort.

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Only the Good Die Young…

The charm of annuals is their light gaiety, as though they must make the most of their brief lives to be frivolous and pleasure-giving.  They have no time to be austere or glum.  They must be youthful because they have no time to be old.  And so their colours are bright, and their foliage airy, and their only morality is to be as cheerful as possible, and to leave as much seed as they can behind them for their progeny to continue in  the same tradition.  This, of course is the one thing you must not let them do: all seeding heads must ruthlessly be snipped off if you want to prolong the exuberance of flowers.

-Vita Sackville-West
April 16, 1950

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I love seeing the annuals arrive at our local greenhouse (Bordine’s Nursery).  Proof that we survived another winter and the warm comfort of summer will arrive soon. Every year I plant annuals in my pots and along my front yard.  So around Mother’s day I venture to the nursery and plan out my color combinations for the summer.

 

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I use to hate the look of geraniums.  But lately, I’ve grown to appreciate the nostalgic vibe they possess.  I think I began to like them when I saw an old picture of my Great Grandma’s house in the 1950’s or perhaps 1960’s.  She had a brilliant red geranium planted in an old basket on her yard.  Also, the giving of geraniums on Mother’s Day is a tradition in my family, so you almost have to like them (or at least pretend to).

The red ones are my favorite. There’s something very old fashioned about that red and green Christmassy combination.  I have planted them in my front pots and they have done well.  However, they like sun and won’t flower unless they get a touch of it.  In my opinion, they look best in pots low to the ground so you can watch them lift their colorful heads to you.  Also, the spent stalks must be disposed of to keep them looking their best.

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In the past I’ve been frustrated with my pots on the porch.  In the past I’ve done begonias. They look great if one is sitting on the porch staring down at them, but from the road you can barely see the flowers.  Last year I actually tilted the plants in the dirt so they could be seen better.  However, this year I might try some spiky plants, like Salvia, and perhaps ivy – something that drapes over.  I would like a colorful show for the neighbors and frequent passersby.  Any suggestions would be helpful!

Thanks for stopping!

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