Here’s a garden shot just prior to our expected first freeze of the year. Foreground to back: Muhlenbergia lindheimeri, Salvia darcyi, Juniperus conferta ‘All Gold’, Cuphea micropetala, Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’.
The shrubby North American native salvias including Salvia greggii and Salvia microphylla are spectacular plants in the fall garden. The same goes form the hybrids between the two species, known as Salvia x jamensis. Here is our clump of Salvia x jamensis ‘Blast’ looking absolutely stunning in late October. Flowering is heaviest in spring, slowing in summer, but again equaling it’s spring show in fall. Hardiness is Zone 7a-9b, and possibly a good bit colder.
We’ve had Salvia ‘Rockin’ Deep Purple’ on trial since 2018, and it’s now headed for our January Plant Delights catalog. Although we love the Argentinian Salvia guaranitica, it spreads far too fast to be useful in many of our garden beds. We have been trialing a number of hybrids with Salvia guaranitica and an array of different clumping species to find one that has winter hardiness, but doesn’t take over the garden.
Salvia ‘Rockin’ Deep Purple’ from California’s Brent Barnes, has lived up to all of our expectations, as long as you have enough space. For us, a single clump measures 5′ tall x 10′ wide…a far cry from the 3.5′ tall x 2.5′ wide size that’s often marketed on-line. Below is an image of the flower power it’s still showing in early October. The bumblebees love it as much as we do.
Looking fabulous in the garden now is the perennial Salvia ‘Big Blue’. This amazing sage has been in flower since spring, and has yet to slow down. It’s also a favorite of the native bumblebees.
The splendid, giant-growing Salvia madrensis ‘Redneck Girl’ is a JLBG introduction and has been at peak the last few weeks. This is so superb for climates where you can avoid an early fall frost.
Salvia regla ‘Jame’ (pronounced Haam-hey) is looking so wonderful this time of year. This amazing North American native (US/Mexico) was originally shared back in 2000, by the late Salvia guru, Rich Dufresne. It has adorned our gardens every year since with these amazing fall shows. Hardiness is Zone 7b and warmer.
We’ve trialed many variegated forms of the lovely fall-flowering Salvia leucantha, and the only one we felt was good enough to share is Salvia leucantha ‘Eder’, which we’re pleased to offer this summer/fall for the first time. Where it isn’t winter hardy, it can easily be kept indoors in a cool room or porch.
I first met the Balkan native, Salvia nutans on a visit to Germany a few years ago and was gobstruck. How had I missed knowing and growing such amazing plant? We were able to track down seed, and to our surprise, it thrived even through our hot humid summers. For us, Salvia nutans flowers for several months in spring, but will continue longer if the summers are cooler. Did I mention how hard it is to photograph due to the abundance of feeding bumblebees?
Salvia ‘Newe Ya’ar’ is an odd name for an odd plant. This amazing sage was developed in Israel by breeders looking for the perfect culinary sage. In developing this, they also created a great garden plant for regions that have trouble growing the typical culinary sage, Saliva officinalis, due to our wet, humid summers. Members of the American Herb Society, who first imported this, raved about it amongst themselves, so we’re thrilled to finally be able to share. We don’t know how far north this has been trialed past our 7 degrees F here, so please let us know how its performed if you’ve tried it in colder regions.