October 22, 2009

Blazing Bloomers!

The blazing red blooms are over five feet high and wide, creating quite a bonfire! The fire has been raging out of control for weeks now. Several light frosts this week haven't extinguished the blooms on the salvia elegans (pineapple sage).

This is one of those plants that may be an indicator for global warming, though we had a very cold winter last year. Pineapple sage is considered an annual around here, more suitable for zones 8-11 than my zone 7 garden. I planted this one (and a few others that didn't survive) three years ago.

I never expected this salvia to survive, so I totally ignored it and literally planted agastache 'Blue Fortune' and clumping bamboo on top of it two years ago! In mid-August, I gave the agastache a trim, the salvia got to see the sun and took off like a wildfire. The hummingbirds went nuts over this plant before they packed up their tiny bags and flew south. Deer and rabbits ignore the plant.

The salvia is in a section of the butterfly garden that is getting a makeover. The space is now getting partial shade as the bamboo, a chaste tree and miscanthus have matured. I have relocated some heat-seeking plants to make room for plants that don't have to heat roast all summer. Next year, there will be colocasia and amsonia hubrichtii with the salvia. I may try some of the butterfly ginger or a canna here as well. The colocasia blooms in fall and has dark purple stems and a yellow bloom. The amsonia turns a brilliant gold in the fall. Of course, my PLAN will go up in flames if the salvia doesn't survive this winter!

Words and photos by Freda Cameron; Home Garden; October 2009
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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