Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New varieties of an old favourite...

The calendar may say it’s time for Winter but Autumn arrived late this year, and in the garden it still has some unfinished business. Most notable on its still-to-do list are the Salvias- some of the season’s flowering superstars, who are still looking amazing despite it being June.

Salvia is a massive genus in the Mint family (Lamiaceae), with around 900 different species of herbaceous perennials and annuals, including the edible varieties of Sage. Here’s a fun fact to impress (or annoy) your friends with- all Salvias have square stems! They have low water requirements, thrive in a full sun position and are covered in flowers from March until May (or even later, as we are seeing this year). A hard prune and a decent feed in Spring will ensure the best display of flowers next season; other than that they need very little attention.

[caption id="attachment_191" align="alignright" width="150"] Salvia leucantha 'Velour White'[/caption]

Salvias are a very traditional plant, commonly found in cottage and formally styled gardens, though they make an eye-catching addition to any sunny spot. Four Seasons Nursery has some newly developed cultivars in stock right now, which are fast growing, easy to maintain, and come in a range of vivid colours.

Salvia leucantha ‘Velour White’ grows to 1.5m high and about 2m wide. It features a mass of white flower spikes and is reasonably drought tolerant when established.

Salvia leucantha ‘Velour Pink’ is essentially the same as ‘Velour White’, but its flowers are a soft pink colour. The two form a lovely and subtle contrast when planted together.

Salvia mexicana ‘Lolly’ is a touch smaller than the ‘Velours’, growing 1.4m high by 1.4m wide. It features cool blue flowers on darker stems, and is known to be bird-attracting.

[caption id="attachment_195" align="alignright" width="150"] Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara'[/caption]

Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’ is the smallest of this bunch, at 0.9m high and roughly 1m wide. Its flowers are a similar colour to lavender, which stand well clear of the light green foliage.

These and many more Salvias are available now at Four Seasons Nursery, stop by any time to check them out!

-Mike P.

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