March 2, 2011

Garden Inspiration: Blue and Gold

Lantana 'Miss Huff'
with salvia 'Black & Blue'
in Helen's garden
A big happy birthday wish to the gardener who inspired the combination in today's feature. Helen Yoest at Gardening with Confidence™  is celebrating her birthday on March 3!

When visiting Helen's garden in September 2009, I was struck by the deep blue of salvia guaranitica 'Black & Blue' planted with the gold and orange blooms of lantana 'Miss Huff'.

These are two easy plants to grow as annuals in cold zones and perennials in warm zones. Both are water-wise and can handle drought conditions with minimal water. Plant in full sun. Afternoon shade is fine in the hottest zones.

Lantana camara 'Miss Huff' is a perennial in zones 7-10 with blooms of gold and orange. She can grow quite large, reaching a whopping shrub-size of 4-6 feet in height and width. Late to emerge in spring, usually May in zone 7b, don't cut back lantana in the fall. This shrub is a wonderful butterfly magnet. Deer don't usually browse the blooms until late autumn and their preferred food is very scarce.

Butterfiles love the lantana 'Miss Huff'
growing in my garden; July 2010.

Salvia guaranitica 'Black & Blue' is a perennial in zones 7-11. Growing up to 4-6 feet in height and width, with splendid deep blue blossoms, this is a hummingbird favorite. Also late to emerge in spring, you may find the offshoots several feet away from the original mother plant. Don't but this one back in the fall either. As with the lantana, deer tend to leave this alone unless they are desperate for food.

I will divide my Salvia 'Black & Blue'
to plant with the Lantana 'Miss Huff'.
I have been growing both the lantana and salvia in my garden for years, but not together. When I moved coreopsis last year, I made a note to fill the space with a combination of lantana and salvia. This May 2011 will be the time to put this inspired combination together in my butterfly garden where I also grow bronze fennel, a host plant for Black Swallowtail Butterflies.

Bronze fennel in my butterfly garden
serves as a host plant for Black Swallowtail Butterflies.
Bronze fennel is perennial in zones 4-9 and can usually be found in the herb section at garden centers. Growing to a height of five feet in my garden, it will self-sow with abandon unless you deadhead the blooms in the fall. The foliage starts out very dark and fluffy before the stems shoot up and produce gold-yellow blooms. Fennel is reliably deer resistant, though the critters may sample it now and then without doing any damage.

Lantana, salvia and bronze fennel are great companions with similar growing conditions and are beneficial for pollinators—an easy butterfly garden inspiration to replicate!

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.
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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