The appearance of my summer garden was largely saved by Salvias this year. I’m not overstating things when I say that the days were torrid and the garden parched during five weeks without rain, but the Salvias kept on flowering, even after their January trim.
I lost quite a few plants: a beautiful Ceonothus ‘Blue Pacific’ (now replaced with a Banksia ericifolia ‘Little Eric’), a Potentilla which struggled from the time of planting, several Ericas, a Pittosporum (which may have been a victim of overwatering, I have to confess), my Geranium ‘Rozanne’ despite being under a shade cloth, and a climbing rose which found life by the metal fence just too hot to bear.
Other plants looked positively exhausted and very much as though they mightn’t survive, drooping as though they had the cares of the world upon them, which they probably did, botanically speaking. The early Autumn flush of rose blooms baked on their stems as though they’d been in an oven.
My Six this week is devoted therefore, to Salvias, those stalwarts of the garden. Number one, above, is Salvia microphylla ‘Ribambelle’ seen here cavorting with Verbena bonariensis, another plant which seems to take everything the weather throws at it. I have discovered since planting the Verbena in the garden, that it’s a weed in these parts, appearing along roadsides in large numbers. No matter, I’m happy to have it in my garden complementing ‘Ribambelle’ and filling spaces with its airy personality.
Two: Salvia greggii (I think). Dainty flowers dancing on a prolifically flowering shrub that grows to about 60cm tall, perfect in the middle part of the garden.
Three: Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ a super tough, indispensable addition to the garden: inclined to sprawl a bit, it benefits from a good trim in midsummer.
Four: I haven’t been able to identify this one, so I hope someone from the SoS crew will be able to help out.
Five: Salvia ‘Indigo Blue’, not to be confused with ‘Indigo Spires’ being a much better behaved plant that keeps tidy and flowers all summer.
Six: Salvia farinacea blue (obviously), coming to the end of its flowering season now.
There are other available Salvias -hundreds in fact- and most of them seem to have the qualities of hardiness required when gardening in a harsh climate. I also have Salvia nemerosa in various shades, but they have stopped flowering now.
I’m pleased to add that in the last couple of weeks we have had plentiful rain, inches in fact; evidence of which can be seen in this week’s photos. Lawns that were crackly and crisp greened up in a matter of days -proof that it isn’t imperative to water kikuyu grass, and most plants are going all out for a bit more growth before the weather becomes wintry.
Six on Saturday is inhabited by a great group of gardeners from many different countries led by the Propagator. If you are interested in what they have in their gardens, you can pop over to his blog by following this link.
Weather today: Rain, then partly cloudy and windy with a cold southerly. 16-19 C