April 26, 2012

Sages Spring in the Garden

A mix of salvia greggii and salvia nemorosa 
in the cottage garden, viewed across the blooms,
but there are many companions surrounding these sages.
I'm not a collector of plants, but one look across my garden in spring, a visitor might think that I have a sage in every color. My favorite variety is salvia greggii and there are many reasons why I love this plant.

When I began my research into deer resistant plants, salvia topped the list. The first salvia greggii planted in my garden is the beautiful 'Navajo Bright Red' (difficult to find). A grouping of five is still flourishing and delivering masses of blooms in spring and fall. During the heat of the summer, the blooms are sparse, but the foliage of the plant, evergreen in my zone 7b garden provides year-round satisfaction—characteristics of all greggii varieties.

Maintenance is similar to butterfly bushes (buddleia). I cut back and shape salvia greggii in late winter, removing the dead wood and to keep the plant flexible and full of foliage to produce the blooms.

The plants are tough as long as they aren't overwatered or stand in wet soil. Drought-tolerant, deer and rabbit resistent, the results of using the sages for gardening in full sun is rewarding.

I now grow salvia greggii in the cottage garden, the deer resistant garden and in containers—in planned vignettes, randomly mixed and literally contained. For the versatility and low-maintenance, salvias are among my perennial favorites.

Is there a downside? Yes—salvia greggii is very difficult to photograph! My photos are rather dark because I had to wait for evening or cloudy days to capture the colors and shapes of the blooms!

Salvia greggii 'Navajo Bright Red' began in full sun
and is now partially shaded by a mature weeping willow.
Companions, monarda 'Jacob Cline' and crocosmia 'Lucifer'. April 2012.
Salvia greggii 'Texas Wedding' is a creamy white.
Planted at the edge of a path in front of roses, a potted hosta (shaded),
daylilies and saliva farinacea 'Victoria Blue' (yet to bloom) are companions. April 2012.
Salvia greggii 'Diane' (dark purple in front of burgundy loropetalum)
surrounded by other sun-loving companions in the cottage garden. April 2012.
Salvia greggii 'Autumn Sage' and 'Dark Dancer'
randomly mixed across the deer resistant meadow garden.
April 2012.
I purchased this salvia last week, but when
I got home, there was no ID tag!
The color is a creamy white with pale peach tones and dark stems.
Planted with salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens' and thyme.
April 2012.

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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