I have long admired Betsy Clebsch for putting to paper her passionate devotion to the genus Salvia. Timber Press, my hands-down favorite publisher, introduced A Book of Salvias: Sages for Every Garden in 1997. It was expanded in 2003 to include 50 new species and cultivars and this new edition will no doubt find its way onto my bookshelf.
The recent renovation of my overgrown herb garden now includes eight species of Salvia. I did not intentionally plan to include so many. It is a happy coincidence that has already set me to thinking about including more obscure Salvia cousins. But until I can carve out additional garden space I will happily enjoy the the following:
S. coccinea 'Coral Nymph'
S. farinacea 'Blue Bedder'
S. greggii 'San Takao'
S. nemorosa 'Caradonna'
S. officinalis 'Berggarten'
S. officinalis 'Icterena'
S. officinalis 'Purpurascens'
S. patens 'Blue Angel'
S. splendens 'Whopper Lighthouse'
S. viridis 'Marble Arch Rose'
S. viridis 'Blue Denim'
'Blue Bedder', 'Blue Angel', 'Marble Arch Rose', 'Blue Denim' and 'Whopper Lighthouse' were grown from seed. I have in the past grown 'Coral Nymph' from seed as well. 'Caradonna' came from Audubon Workshop, one of several daughter companies of Gardens Alive!, and was a happy surprise. The bareroot plants were healthy and shot quickly into respectable plants in gallon pots before being transplanted into the garden. This cultivar is particularly beautiful, with deep blue-violet flowers borne on dark purple-black stems. It was discovered as a sport seedling of S. "Wasuve" by Zillmer nursery in Germany and went on to be awarded Outstanding New Perennial award by the International Hardy Plant Union. I bought these using a $25 introductory coupon and am experiencing the satisfaction bordering on smugness that comes from scoring a great bargain.
The planting commenced today and all are now enjoying spring rain to water them in. A few days of sun and I expect these Salvias to start growing into the beautiful specimens that Ms. Clebsch so lovingly describes.