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Salvia (Sage)
at Digging Dog

Including Salvia nemorosa, Salvia microphylla, Salvia pratensis, Salvia involucrata, and Salvia przewalskii

Salvia

Sage

Thought in ancient times to perpetuate good health, an Arab proverb asks, “How shall a man die with sage in his garden?” Our Salvias are diverse perennials, shrubs or subshrubs. Many of them hail from the Mediterranean, Mexico and South America.

Drought tolerant, reliable once established, and generally pest and disease free, they combine an array of flowers and aromatic foliage in many different sizes, shapes, and hues.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus


Salvia x ‘Allen Chickering’  full sun  new plant  drought tolerant

Undaunted by deer and drought, this Salvia leucophylla and Salvia clevelandii progeny is a California native originating at Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens. Brew a delicious tea from its spicy scented, graygreen leaves and delight in the hummingbirds, bees and butterflies drawn to its abundance of tubular deep lavender blooms that comprise evenly spaced, ball-like clusters. With a dense shrubby profile, this good-looking reliable Sage will grow quickly in a sunny well-drained locale.

Blooms June–August.

Size: 3' high x 3'–4' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia x ‘Allen Chickering’ (P-0336)
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Salvia argentea  full sun
Salvia argentea

This bold Mediterranean native serves up a remarkable portion of eye catching appeal on its almost platter-sized, soft and silky white, felted foliage. Emerging in a dramatic basal clump, new leaves are crinkled, but flatten as they grow, while their margins retain a sinuous wave. A spectacular showing of dramatic 2 to 3 ft. candelabralike stems are decorated in small, white, hooded flowers, each with a slight tinge of pink and a subtle grayish calyx.

After the bloom, leaves transmute to a pale gray-green, and when cooler weather returns, they turn silvery once again. Positively show-stopping along a dry wall, or in the herb garden with Lavender and Rosmarinus ‘Maltese White’, Salvia argentea demands well drained soil, tolerates drought, and will live longer if spent flower stalks are attentively removed.

Blooms June–July.

Size: 5' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia argentea (p-0678)
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Salvia arizonica  full sun  partial shade
Arizona Sage
Salvia arizonica

A loose mound of luxuriant verdant foliage and trailing stems, this native of southern Arizona, Texas and northern Mexico thrives in the partial shade of small trees and shrubs. With a multitude of small, bright purple flowers held by smoky violet calyxes and a refreshing minty scent, Arizona Sage makes a delightful understory for Euphorbia griffithii ‘Great Dixter’.

Blooms June–July & again in September.

Size: 18" high x 2' & spreading; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia arizonica (p-0771)
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Salvia azurea ‘Nekan’  full sun
Pitcher Sage
Salvia azurea Nekan

Highly esteemed for its densely packed whorls of true sky blue flowers, this U.S. native assures a scene stealing, late season hurrah that beckons both butterflies and gardeners. Numerous slender stems stand tall while narrow, linear gray-green leaves are covered in a downy softness. Exhibiting a vigorous drought, heat and cold tolerant nature, this stalwart beauty deserves a prime position in more gardens.

Blooms July–September.

Size: 3'–4' high x 2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia azurea ‘Nekan’ (P-0162)
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Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’  full sun

A bee’s bliss, a gardener’s good friend, and very welcome indeed is this Salvia’s ability to grow in difficult, dry conditions. An excellent ground cover, ‘Bee’s Bliss’ bears abundant clusters of lavender-colored blossoms, which embellish its bright, dense mat of slender-leafed, aromatic, gray-green foliage. It willingly spills over a wall, softening hard edges, and maintains a tidy look without much care.

Blooms June–August.

Size: 12" high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’ (p-0802)
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Salvia brandegeei ‘Pacific Blue’  full sun
Santa Rosa Island Sage
Salvia brandegeei Pacific Blue

The species hails from California’s Channel Islands, while the vigorous cultivar comes from a selection made at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden. Possessing a versatile tough-as nails persona, long-lived ‘Pacific Blue’ is an upright, mutistemmed shrubby Salvia defined by arched branches and winsome, dark green slender leaves with pebbled surfaces, felted white undersides and a spicy scent. Abundant tiered whorls of dark lavender-tinged blue blooms adorn this fast growing, hummingbird minion that can handle extreme drought, summer water and an array of soils.

Blooms April – June.

Size: 3'–4' high x 4'–6' wide; hardy to zone 8.


Salvia brandegeei ‘Pacific Blue’ (P-1539)
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Salvia cacaliaefolia  full sun
Guatemalan Blue Vine Sage
Salvia cacaliaefolia

Touted some 70 years ago by British garden writer William Robinson, this exceptional, long blooming Salvia offers fuzzy gentian-blue flowers. Its small but abundant, vividly colored blooms garnish terminal racemes above a many stemmed emerald-green foundation of thick triangular leaves.

Indigenous to the mountainous regions of southern Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, Salvia cacaliaefolia can be found growing as high as 8000 ft., its slow-to-spread, creeping roots thriving with well drained soil, regular water and high shade. A harbinger of cool, late season color, it can be positioned right up front next to Geum ‘Starker’s Magnificum’.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 2'–3' high x 3'–4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia cacaliaefolia (P-1322)
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Salvia chiapensis  full sun  partial shade
Chiapas Sage

A high-elevation, cloud forest denizen of Chiapas, Mexico, this tender Salvia champions dark green varnished leaves and bright fuchsia-colored blossoms. Widely spaced whorls house grape-hued calyxes and flashy flowers above an airy evergreen foundation of upright stems and deeply veined elliptical leaves, which are attached by long reddish petioles. Tantalizing in a container, hanging basket or the perennial bed, Chiapas Sage detests poor drainage, prefers moderate water, needs a protected winter spot and a pruning to maintain its bushy shape.

Blooms July – October.

Size: 2'–3' high x 3'–4' wide. Zone 8/9.

Salvia chiapensis (P-1538)
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Salvia clevelandii ‘Whirly Blue’  full sun  drought tolerant
Salvia clevelandii Whirly Blue

Native to southern California’s chaparral country and distinctive amongst the shrubby sages for its large deeper colored blossoms, you can usually smell this extremely long blooming, drought tolerant cultivar before it comes into view. The pleasantly sweet and woody aroma is a grace note to its handsome habit. Evergreen, narrow linear leaves have a pewter green tone, punctuated by a springtime flash of bright green stems. Excellent in dried arrangements, ‘Whirly Blue’s rich violet flower whorls, enhanced with dusky mulberry-colored calyxes, are favored by hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Prune regularly to ensure an attractive appearance.

Blooms June – October.

Size: 4-1/2' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia clevelandii ‘Whirly Blue’ (P-1502)
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Salvia confertiflora  full sun
Salvia confertiflora

With velvety, reddish purple stems, smooth, bright green new foliage that matures to a textured dark green, and fuzzy, vermilion flowers, this Brazilian native is lush and tantalizing. Wonderful cut or dried, the 6 to 10 in. long flower spikes make a bold statement in the fall border with Asters and grasses, and combine beautifully with mounding perennials.

Blooms September–November.

Size: 5' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia confertiflora (p-0214)
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Salvia corrugata  full sun
Salvia corrugata

Widely distributed in the Andes from southern Columbia to Peru, Salvia corrugata features deeply puckered, dark green foliage. While newly emerging leaves have downy, copper-colored undersides, each mature lance-shaped leaf has a sheen on top and contrasting grayish tomentose below. Light gray-green, fuzzy stems are crowned with showy racemes of deep blue flowers held by violet calyxes. This distinctive, upright Salvia makes a great specimen for the mixed border.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 3-1/2'–5' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia corrugata (P-0965)
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Salvia ‘El Cielo Blue’  full sun  partial shade
Blue Sky Sage
Salvia  El Cielo Blue

Selected by Yucca Do Nursery, the interesting foliage of this upright Mexican native makes it one of our favorite Sages. Broad, tapered leaves have an unusual bluish hue on top, while undersides turn purple as they mature. Contrast this with the vivid green of the new growth, and you’re in for quite a foliar show. Well loved by hummingbirds, the small, iridescent, deep purple flowers display a splash of white in their throats.

Blooms late August–October.

Size: 4' high x 2' wide. Zone 8/9.

Salvia ‘El Cielo Blue’ (P-0866)
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Salvia ‘Eveline’  full sun

Acclaimed garden designer, Piet Oudolf selected this marvelous Salvia pratensis hybrid for its tidy compact habit and unusual two-toned prolific blooms. Tall upright sturdy branched spires parade a multitude of carmine-colored buds and pink flowers nestled in dark purple calyxes. Light green aromatic leaves—ovate, wrinkled and sporting crenate margins—weave a comely basal clump that wards off deer, tantalizes the hummingbirds, requires good air circulation and appreciates a trim after blooming to promote new growth. (uspp#14,905)

Blooms May–July.

Size: 20"–2' high x 15"–18" wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia ‘Eveline’ (P-1772)
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Salvia forsskaolii  full sun  partial shade
Salvia forsskaolii

The large, almost triangular leaves of this Bulgarian native make a striking base for the long spires of white-streaked, violet-blue blooms. Robust flower stems arch gracefully above the basal foliage, which lies close to the ground. Accent the beautiful foliage and position midborder in well drained soils with fine textured perennials and grasses like Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’.

Blooms June–September.

Size: 2' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Salvia forsskaolii (p-0215)
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Salvia greggii ‘Lowry’s Peach’  full sun
Salvia greggii Lowry’s Peach

And what a peach it is! Hailing from the Mexican hills above Ciudad Victoria, this shrubby, evergreen Salvia displays saturated coral flowers with buttery throats, nearly nonstop from the last frost to the first. Held by wine-tinged stems, the appealing small, glossy green foliage and cocoa-tinted calyxes offer a contrasting foil for the vividly colored blooms. Drought tolerant ‘Lowry’s Peach’ is prized by hummingbirds, and promises a lively show en masse in any sunny border. Regular pruning ensures continued bloom and a pleasing form.

Blooms May – October.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia greggii ‘Lowry’s Peach’ (p-1139)
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Salvia greggii ‘Wild Thing’  full sun
Salvia greggii Wild Thing

Plant aficionado Tom Peace helped establish this lavishly hued, west Texan’s notoriety. Quick to grow, full of vigor and more tolerant of cold, damp winters than most other greggii species, ‘Wild Thing’s leafy, good-looking form presents lustrous green foliage and droves of vivid cherry-pink flowers with contrasting wine-colored calyxes. Plant next to Agastache ‘Apricot Sunrise’ and Verbascum ‘Sixteen Candles’ for a wild, long blooming vignette.

Blooms June–September.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Salvia greggii ‘Wild Thing’ (P-1224)
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Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’  full sun  partial shade
Black and Blue Guarani Sage
Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue

An absolute favorite of our hummingbirds, this eye catching Salvia offers abundant, deep cobalt blue, tubular blooms and nearly black calyxes on 15 in. terminal flowering spikes all summer long. More compact than many of the guaranitica species, ‘Black and Blue’ provides complementary color for the shining blooms of Crocosmia ‘Star of the East’.

Blooms mid-July–October.

Size: 3-1/2' high x 3' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ (P-0772)
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Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Ensign’  full sun  partial shade
Salvia guaranitica Blue Ensign

Pennantlike spikes of large, Cambridge blue, tubular flowers and bright green calyxes proudly rise above the spade-shaped leaves, which cloak ‘Blue Ensign’s upright, but freely branching stance. A drift mid-border makes a compelling statement with the yellow-orange coloring of Euphorbia ‘Fern Cottage’s fall foliage nearby.

Blooms mid-July–October.

Size: 3-1/2'–4' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Blue Ensign’ (p-1138)
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Salvia holwayi  full sun  partial shade
Salvia holwayi

Hailing from the cool highlands of Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico, this vigorous Salvia volunteers hundreds of brilliant cardinal red, whorled blossoms in late fall. A yellow-green cast infuses young growth while mature leaves are darker green. Marked by light green grooves, the numerous, wine-infused lax stems become obscured by prominently veined triangular leaves, which taper to pronounced narrow tips.

Paying homage to Edward Holway, an American mycologist and plant collector who traveled to Mexico in the early 1900s, Salvia holwayi blooms all winter long in warmer areas, gracing its lush and bushy good-sized mass with much appreciated color and hummingbird food.

Grateful for a well drained, humus rich spot and a hard cut after blooming, it creates a verdant backdrop for the mixed border, an excellent conservatory plant in colder climates and a splendid long lasting cut flower when they’re aren’t many others around.

Blooms October–December.

Size: 4' high x 4'–6' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia holwayi (p-1345)
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Salvia involucrata ‘Hidalgo’  full sun
Roseleaf Sage

Large and rounded, dusky magenta buds cluster at stem tips and open into brilliant pink, fuzzy tubular flowers toned down by deep purple calyxes. Handsome, dark green nearly heart-shaped leaves are arranged in pairs and complement red petioles on strong straight stalks.

Revered by hummingbirds, this bushy Salvia makes a perfect addition to the meadow garden, and along with Salvia ‘Nekan’ and Aster ‘Ochtendgloren’ augments a late season blend of blue and pink.

Blooms August–mid-October.

Size: 4' high x 3' wide. Zone 8/9.

Salvia involucrata ‘Hidalgo’ (p-0296)
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Salvia involucrata ‘Mulberry Jam’  full sun
Mulberry Jam Roseleaf Sage

A selection from Betsy Clebsch’s garden, ‘Mulberry Jam’ is smaller and more upright than the species. Large, rounded, dusky magenta buds open into vivid, fuzzy pink, tubular flowers nicely toned down by deep purple calyxes. Revered by hummingbirds, this bushlike Salvia makes a perfect addition to the meadow garden with Salvia ‘Nekan’ and Aster ‘Ochtendgloren’ for a blend of late season pinks.

Blooms June–mid-October.

Size: 4' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia involucrata ‘Mulberry Jam’ (p-0713)
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Salvia x jamensis ‘Pat Vlasto’  full sun
Pat Vlasto Autumn Sage

One of the toughest cultivars of the species, this radiant long blooming Sage can handle a variety of growing conditions. Against a fine textured background of small, glossy green leaves, the watermelon-colored flowers are offset by red-hued stems and sable-colored calyxes. For echoes of warm color, pair ‘Pat Vlasto’ with Phygelius ‘African Queen’.

Blooms June–mid-October.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia x jamensis ‘Pat Vlasto’ (P-1107)
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Salvia leucantha x elegans ‘Anthony Parker’  full sun
Anthony Parker Bush Sage
Salvia leucantha x elegans Anthony Parker

Frances Parker of South Carolina discovered this unlikely cross and named it for her grandson. Blessed with attributes from both parents, ‘Anthony Parker’ features extraordinary, nearly 2 ft. long spires of midnight purple-black, leucantha-like flowers topping attractive leaves and young downy white stems. The broad-based, grayish green foliage tapers to a point, and displays a venation similar to Salvia elegans.

Gracing an herbaceous border or even an arrangement, this robust Salvia’s dark flowers will set Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ aglow.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 3'–4' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia leucantha x elegans ‘Anthony Parker’ (p-1140)
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Salvia melissodora (Yucca Do Form)  full sun
Grape-scented Sage

The name of this charming Sage, long used by the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico for medicinal purposes, comes from the Greek words meaning fragrant and honeybee. Bees, moths, butterflies and hummingbirds alike are attracted to the sumptuous, nectar-laden panicles of pleasantly scented, periwinkle flowers and fuzzy, sable-colored calyxes.

Elegant leaves with downy silver undersides embellish its graceful upright presence.

Blooms May–October.

Size: 5'–6' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 9.

Salvia melissodora (Yucca Do Form) (P-0774)
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Salvia mexicana ‘Compton’s Form’  full sun
Salvia mexicana Compton’s Form

Lavish dark buds are a prelude to the striking compact whorls of fuzzy purple flowers and black calyxes displayed on 18 in. spikes. ‘Compton’s Form’ has distinctive, deep green polished foliage, a bit finer textured than that of ‘Limelight’, and an erect, bushy habit.

Blooms August – early November.

Size: 5' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia mexicana ‘Compton’s Form’ (P-0711)
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Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’  full sun
Salvia mexicana Limelight Salvia mexicana Limelight

Whorls of densely packed, chartreuse terminal buds on strong upright stems provide exciting contrast to the lush green color of ‘Limelight’s foliage. In flower, this cultivar is sure to take center stage as deep bluish purple blooms peek out from the vibrant yellow-green calyxes. Cut back each season to encourage new growth at the base and to maintain a pleasing shape.

Blooms August–early November.

Size: 6' high x 6' wide; hardy to zone 8.


Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’ (p-0608)
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Salvia microphylla  full sun  new plant
Salvia microphylla

Naming this natty Salvia "small leaves" is like identifying a Ferrari by its tires. The long blooming scarlet-red flowers and thick wine-red stems, which are inscribed with a notable silver-white stripe running down each side, provide dynamic counterpoints to pleasantly scented, lustrous green serrated leaves. Indigenous to southeastern Arizona and Mexico's mountainous regions, where it is known as "myrtle of the mountain", our cutting propagated strain forges a dense, shrubby evergreen patch. The proud parent of many popular cultivars, its steadfast good looks promise a lot of mileage.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide. Zone 8/9.

Salvia microphylla (p-0129)
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Salvia microphylla ‘Dennis’ Pink’  full sun
Salvia microphylla Dennis’ Pink

Touted as one of the best pink-colored microphyllas, these good-sized flowers are not shy in the least. With a full-bodied fuchsia pink hue, the freely borne blooms feature dark charcoal-tinged calyxes, hooded upper petals and prominent lower lips illuminated by singular white splotches. Peaking in spring, continuing through summer and ending with an autumn grand finale, the exuberant long lasting display energizes a bushy aromatic mass of wiry stems and green blunt-tipped, finely toothed leaves. This Salvia remains relatively root-hardy through chilly winters.

Blooms May – October.

Size: 3'–4' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia microphylla ‘Dennis’ Pink’ (P-1537)
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Salvia microphylla x greggii ‘Red Velvet’  full sun  partial shade
Salvia microphylla x greggii Red Velvet

Big, brilliant and red, these lavishly colored flowers are double the size of any other microphylla or greggii. Blooming spikes and calyxes the color of dark chocolate dramatically present the plush-as-velvet showing, while a handsome, full bush of glossy, somewhat rounded rich green foliage supports it.

Introduced by Texas’s Yucca-Do Nursery and Scott Ogden, ‘Red Velvet’ thrives in warm, dry climates, can endure humidity and assures a vivacious presence, especially when partnered with Penstemon Chiapas sp.

Blooms June–October.

Size: 4' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia microphylla x greggii ‘Red Velvet’ (p-1359)
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Salvia microphylla ‘Hoja Grande’  full sun  partial shade

Painted in pretty lipstick shades of cherry-red and magenta, slender whorled flower spikes festoon this shrubby evergreen Salvia. Warm, rosy brown calyxes and attractive ripple-edged green leaves heighten the showy long lasting blooms.

Introduced by Yucca-Do Nursery, the amenable ‘Hoja Grande’ hails from Mexico’s Nuevo Leon, and in our garden jazzes up neighboring Phlomis russeliana, while easily tolerating dry conditions whether the weather’s hot or cool.

Blooms May–June & September–October.

Size: 3'–4' high x 3'–4' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia microphylla ‘Hoja Grande’ (P-1421)
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Salvia microphylla ‘San Carlos Festival’  full sun
Salvia microphylla San Carlos Festival

This captivating Salvia celebrates a festival of color! Splashed with highly saturated magentas and rich ruby throats, the dazzling flowers unfurl from sable-colored calyxes by the hundreds, beginning in spring and extending until fall.

Discovered in Tamaulipas, Mexico, ‘San Carlos Festival’ is well-loved for its extraordinary floral abundance and its attractive compact form, each medium green leaf emphasizing a textured surface, serrated undulating margins and a somewhat triangular shape that broadcasts bronzy tones come winter.

Blooms May–November.

Size: 2' high x 2-1/2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia microphylla ‘San Carlos Festival’ (p-1361)
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Salvia microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’  full sun  partial shade
Salvia microphylla Wild Watermelon

“Exuberant” best describes the way extra large, deep watermelon-pink flowers dress up this robust, relatively cold resistant Salvia.

Collected by Don Mahoney at 7000 ft. on Mexico’s Mt. Cerro Potosi, ‘Wild Watermelon’ not only boasts boisterously colored blooms with white-marked throats but neat good-looking foliage and a hardy crown that spreads by layering itself. Most abundant in spring and fall and only sporadically over the summer, its high-spirited floral hues invite a glance either spotlighted in a favorite pot, or backed by white blooming Cistus in the mixed border.

Blooms May–June & again in September–October.

Size: 3'–4' high x 4' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’ (p-1360)
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Salvia nemorosa ‘Amethyst’  full sun
Salvia nemorosa Amethyst

With the violet-blue tones of the blossoms, and the similar but rosier shades of the enduring calyxes and prominent streaks that mark the leafy upright flower stems, this richly colored Salvia is a jewel. With wavy-edged foliage, this long bloomer exhibits a handsome fullness. Softening the edge of our pathway in the company of Origanum ‘Ed Carmine’, a violet theme is created, while the addition of Kniphofia ‘Border Ballet’ adds a lively splash of melon to the picture.

Blooms early June–September.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Amethyst’ (p-0813)
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Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’  full sun
Salvia nemorosa Caradonna

Unique, blackish magenta tones darken the lustrous flower stems of this superb new cultivar. Set against these upright and lengthy, dark stalks, the violet blossoms appear dazzling, and will bloom well into fall with attentive dead-heading.

A chance seedling found in a German nursery, ‘Caradonna’s tidy base of textured green foliage and plum-hued blooms impart harmonious accents to Sedum ‘Matrona’s smoky colors.

Blooms June–early October.

Size: 2'–2-1/2' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ (p-1133)
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Salvia nemorosa ‘Negrito’  full sun

Studded with radiant bluish violet flowers, crowded spires rise above a low growing shapely bed of textured green crimple-edged leaves. Persistent darker purple calyxes festoon the long lasting floral splendor, extending interest well after the tubular petals are spent. A compelling European cultivar that is hard to find in this country, ‘Negrito’ makes an ideal trouble free companion for the rosy hues of Origanum ‘Lizzie’s Hybrid #2’ and Sedum ‘Red Cauli’.

Blooms June–early October.

Size: 2'–2-1/2' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Negrito’ (P-1771)
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Salvia nemorosa ‘Rosenwein’  full sun
Salvia nemorosa Rosenwein

German for ‘Rose Wine’, let this Salvia bathe your garden with bright rose-hued flowers. Adorning a low mound of tidy green foliage, the upright leafy spikes are offset by prominent, dark earthy pink calyxes and buds of the same shade. Position in the front of the border with Geranium ‘Mavis Simpson’ and Kniphofia ‘Safranvogel’ for an intoxicating display.

Blooms June–August.

Size: 2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Rosenwein’ (p-0966)
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Salvia nemorosa ‘Sensation Rose’  full sun

We have Dutch nurseryman, Nico Rijnbeek to thank for this exciting new small-statured Salvia. A handsome bed of scalloped-edged, quilted green leaves hosts lovely clear pink flowers with darker calyxes on short branching spires. Its profuse long lasting display, maintained by regular deadheading, and diminutive size make it just right in a container, along a path or anywhere space is limited. (pp#18230)

Blooms May – August.

Size: 15" high x 15" wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Sensation Rose’ (P-1553)
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Salvia nubicola  full sun
Himalayan Yellow Sage
Salvia nubicola

“Nubicola” means “dweller among the clouds,” and the name proclaims its hardiness. The robust, erect stems of this bushy Himalayan native support a wealth of yellow-flowered spires, each bloom warmed by tiny maroon spots and held by bright green calyxes, along with a plenitude of large, arrow-shaped leaves. For an engaging late summer vignette, highlight its vigor by planting with Aster ‘Lady in Black’, Nepeta parnassica and Aconitum ‘Arendsii’.

Blooms mid-August – October.

Size: 4'–5' high x 3-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Salvia nubicola (p-0865)
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Salvia ‘Phyllis’ Fancy’  full sun  partial shade
Salvia  Phyllis’ Fancy

A stylish offspring of Salvia leucantha and possibly Salvia chiapensis, this chance seedling, named for Phyllis Norris, originated at the U.C. Santa Cruz Arboretum. It resembles Salvia ‘Waverly’, though its larger well-groomed frame is more hardy, its green leaves less coriaceous and its bicolored blooms sport a decidedly bluer cast. Attention-grabbing foot long spires are embellished with fuzzy light lavender flowers, each nestled in a bicolored calyx, which are dark inky blue on top and green below.

‘Phyllis’ Fancy’ favors moderate water, good drainage and survives temperatures to 8°, but will die back to its roots.

Blooms July – August

Size: 18"–2' high x 2' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia ‘Phyllis’ Fancy’ (P-1714)
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Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’  full sun  drought tolerant

Hailed as one of the most drought tolerant plants in the trade, this tough-as-nails evergreen Salvia can handle a California summer without water, sandy or clay soil in either coastal, mountainous or desert gardens, and sports good looks to boot. Masses of sparkling blue-violet flowers populate spaced ball-shaped clusters atop a rounded, somewhat woody frame with aromatic ashy green leaves.

A chance seedling of Salvia clevelandii and Salvia leucophylla selected by Las Palitas Nursery owner Bert Wilson, ‘Pozo Blue’ makes a handsome addition to fresh or dried arrangements, as well as rocky banks and dry borders, while attracting butterflies, California Quail, hummingbirds, and plant enthusiasts. It can handle a California summer without water and sandy or clay soil in either coastal, mountainous or desert gardens.

Blooms June – October.

Size: 5' high x 5' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’ (P-1585)
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Salvia pratensis ‘Swan Lake’  full sun

After years of breeding, Jelitto Seeds has just recently introduced this pure white Salvia. Rich green foliage with a wrinkled texture and ruffled margins forms a lush, leafy mound beneath the upstanding snowy spikes. Each delicate, luminous flower nestles in a calyx on a tiny pedestal of small green bracts.

Showy ‘Swan Lake’s species name translates as “growing in meadows,” referring to its sunny native European haunts. A natural for relaxed garden settings amid grasses, it easily accepts varied conditions, especially cold temperatures.

Blooms June–August.

Size: 20" high x 12" wide. Zone 3/4.

Salvia pratensis ‘Swan Lake’ (p-1283)
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Salvia pratensis ‘Sweet Esmeralda’  full sun
Salvia pratensis Sweet Esmeralda

Arising from Jelitto’s Meadow Ballet Series, this steadfast 2008 introduction features erect, tall spires dressed in pretty dark pink hooded flowers with rosy carmine tints on extended lower lips. Long-petioled, green crinkled leaves forge a handsome thick leafy mound, anchoring the vividly colored summer-long display that entices bees and doesn’t ask for much—only sunshine, deadheading and average garden soil.

Blooms June – August.

Size: 20" high x 12" wide. Zone 3/4.

Salvia pratensis ‘Sweet Esmeralda’ (P-1586)
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Salvia pratensis ‘Twilight Serenade’  full sun

Back in 2005, Jelitto first introduced the Meadow Ballet Blend, an easy-to-grow hardy group of Meadow Clary Sages renowned for their richly hued, perfect-for-cutting floral spikes that unfurl within a year of being planted. ‘Twilight Serenade’ is the most recent individual color selection, boasting distinctively hooded, lavish blue-violet blossoms on upright 20 in. green stems above an attractive green rosette of ruffly toothed leaves.

Though the species is a sun-loving, European meadow denizen, this long blooming cultivar will look fantastic right up front in your garden accompanied by Bouteloua curtipendula and Elymus ‘Canyon Prince’.

Blooms June – August.

Size: 20" high x 12" wide. Zone 3/4.

Salvia pratensis ‘Twilight Serenade’ (P-1620)
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Salvia przewalskii  full sun  partial shade

Handsome troops of sturdy sable-colored branching stems curve up and out, delivering plump reddish violet blooms with white stamens and fuzzy mahogany calyxes in ornate widely spaced whorls. Described by long petioles and delineated veins on the flip sides, extremely large, bright green leaves compile a lush looking basal mound.

Populating Chinese rocky slopes, stream banks and forest margins, this Salvia is legendary for its medicinal attributes, prefers well-drained soil and is striking alongside Euphorbia longifolia’s chartreuse blooms.

Blooms July – August

Size: 18"–2' high x 2' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia przewalskii (P-0661)
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Salvia ‘Purple Majesty’  full sun  partial shade

A mainstay at the back of the border, this regal Salvia is a cross between Salvia guaranitica and Salvia gesneraeflora. Rising above the textured mint-green leaves, spikes of vibrant violet-blue blooms add glorious color all summer until frost, and are adored by hummingbirds everywhere. With its upright stance and cool shades, ‘Purple Majesty’ complements the warmer hues of Helianthus angustifolius (Pale Form) for a splendid autumn union.

Blooms June–early November.

Size: 5'–6' high x 3' wide. Zone 7/8.

Salvia ‘Purple Majesty’ (P-0967)
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Salvia reptans  full sun

Originally from the high mountains in Mexico, this plant comes to us from Jim Lockman of Oakland, California. It has a soft character with delicate blue flowers and fine textured, light green, spidery leaves, which grow on basal stems. You can cut it back for a second bloom before it disappears in winter. Salvia reptans is perfect in drifts, as an accent in the rockery, or contrasted with Rudbeckia ‘Swiss Gold’.

Blooms August–September.

Size: 15" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia reptans (p-0131)
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Salvia reptans West Texas Form  full sun
Cobalt Sage
Salvia reptans West Texas Form

The richest shade of cobalt blue saturates these late blooming flowers as they ride a sea of tall stems clad in needlelike green leaves. Discovered in the Davis Mountains at 4000 ft. by Pat McNeal’s keen eye and closely related to Salvia pitcheri, this no-fuss Texas beauty is uniquely upright, while the species is lax. West Texas Form endures drought, poor rocky soil and humidity. An association with Gaura ‘Summer Breeze’ makes for a carefree look.

Blooms mid-August – September.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide. Zone 6/7.

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 2014

Salvia reptans West Texas Form (P-1587)
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Salvia sclarea ‘Vatican White’  full sun
Clary Sage
Salvia sclarea Vatican White

This nobly architectural Sage has been grown in almost every botanical sanctuary throughout human history. The catalog of its uses is extensive: a flavoring for wines and liqueurs; an oil for perfumes, potpourri and incense (thus becoming known as ‘Vatican White’); while medicinally, it is reputed to ease stomach ailments and stop the aging process!

This choice white cultivar, however, is not that easy to find, and we cultivate it for its stately presence in the border. Large, gray-green leaves—lance-shaped and leathery—remain attractive throughout the season. Each stalwart stem is topped with widely branching panicles of pure white blossoms and big, brilliant, whorled white bracts, which convey a floral effect from May to September.

Combined with the cool hues of Nepeta ‘Pool Bank’ and Euphorbia ‘Red Wing’s warmth, ‘Vatican White’ adds a bright element to an arresting composition. Requiring little water or attention, this vigorous species asks only for a superbly drained site.

Blooms June–July.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Salvia sclarea ‘Vatican White’ (p-1136)
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Salvia semiatrata  full sun
Salvia semiatrata

Intricate bicolored flowers, a lovely blend of lilac-colored upper petals and midnight purple lower lips, are held by muted pink calyxes against a foil of handsome, dark green, textured foliage. Perfect for the rocky border or atop a wall where its detail can be enjoyed at eye level, this small-leafed hardy Mexican native combines well with Phygelius and Geranium ‘Buxton’s Variety’ and its long lasting blooms make an excellent addition to any flower arrangement.

Blooms June–October.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia semiatrata (P-0712)
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Salvia ‘Silke’s Dream’  full sun
Salvia  Silke’s Dream

Discovered by Art Petty of Austin, Texas, this dream Salvia cross inherits the best qualities of both its parents. Like darcyi, it features fantastically colored blooms, and like microphylla, its good-looking stance is short and compact.

Summer brings plentiful, 15 in. spikes of warm-hued, dark orange-red flowers and by fall, the round-tipped, somewhat reflective green foliage is completely blanketed by them. Renown for an easy going, stalwart and floriferous nature, ‘Silke’s Dream’ tantalizes us with its passionate display, while counterposing Salvia corrugata’s deep blue spires.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 2' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Salvia ‘Silke’s Dream’ (p-1358)
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Salvia sinaloensis  full sun
Sinaloa Blue Sage
Salvia sinaloensis

Indigenous to the Mexican province Sinaloa, this compact bushy Salvia displays tantalizing color. Low growing stems initially trail on the ground, concealed by dark green, textured leaves infused with plum-purple hues, and bronze-tinted new growth. Well above the narrow foliage, deep blue, airy, upright spikes feature spaced whorls of sable calyxes and vivid flowers marked with two subtle white lines on each lower lip.

A charmer for the border’s edge, a stone wall or the rock garden, Salvia sinaloensis spreads by underground rhizomes, disappears in the winter, and appreciates well drained soil.

Blooms June–October.

Size: 6"–10" high x 15"–18" wide; hardy to zone 8.

Salvia sinaloensis (p-1134)
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Salvia uliginosa  full sun  partial shade  new plant
Bog Sage

Uliginosa means "of the marshes", in this case those between the forests of southern Brazil and Argentina's fertile pampas. Eye-catching white flecked azure blue flowers soar atop slender branching stems lined with narrow lance-shaped green leaves. A quick-to-establish colonizing perennial, Bog Sage presents an airy, strong and erect habit that doesn't need staking and flourishes in moist niches along streams or ponds and in ordinary garden conditions, even tolerating heavy or dry soil. For a spectacular effect, plant it alongside Anemone 'Andrea Atkinson'.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 4'–5' high x 15" & spreading; hardy to zone 6.

Salvia uliginosa (P-0997)
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Salvia ‘Ultra Violet’  full sun

Selected by Lauren Springer and Scott Ogden in Ft. Collins, Colorado, this fantastic new hybrid originated from a hummingbird initiated cross between Salvia lycioides and Salvia greggii. Legions of iridescent deep violet-pink 2-lipped blooms dazzle upright flower spikes and fine cut glistening deep green foliage that shapes a compact rounded habit. Cold hardy ‘Ultra Violet’ lures butterflies, appreciates well-drained soil, withstands drought, rabbits and deer, and looks ultra-fine in just about any landscape. (uspp#21,411)

Blooms June–September.

Size: 18"–20" high x 2'–2-1/4' wide. Zone 5b.

Salvia ‘Ultra Violet’ (P-1773)
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Salvia urica  full sun
Blue Bush Sage
Salvia urica

Hailing from the warm, moist mountainous haunts of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, this tender, yet irresistible Salvia produces inch long, whorled deep blue-violet flowers on short stalks above a verdurous semi-upright mass. Lax stems carry velvety soft, dark green textured leaves that are deltoid in shape and saw-toothed along the margins. Tended by green calyxes, the long blooming flowers feature unusual incurved lower lips with light undersides and provide a cool-colored late season fanfare, complementing roses and pink or white blooming Asters.

A topnotch container specimen, Blue Bush Sage needs to be protected when temperatures drop to 30°.

Blooms August – November.

Size: 2'–3' high x 2'–3' wide. Zone 9/10.

Salvia urica (P-1480)
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Salvia vanhoutii (Burgundy Form)  full sun  partial shade
Van Houtt’s Brazilian Sage
Salvia vanhoutii (Burgundy Form)

This showy Salvia makes a dazzling container plant. The large, layered, burgundy buds have pointed sepals and open into numerous dark carmine-colored flowers with wine-red calyxes. Intriguing raised red ridges run horizontally around the stems at regular intervals like rungs on a ladder, connecting the reddish leaf petioles of each pair of opposite leaves.

Be sure to provide winter protection, as Salvia vanhoutii is hardy only in warmer climates.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 4' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 9.

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 2014

Salvia vanhoutii (Burgundy Form) (p-0775)
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Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain’  full sun
Salvia verticillata Purple Rain Salvia verticillata Purple Rain

When Virgil wrote “Steep thyself in a bowl of summertime,” he may well have been inspired by this Salvia. Petals of deep purple gather like raindrops in tiered pools to form these whorled flowers. Broad, opposite, almost thistlelike triangular leaves provide a solid base for the tall, branching stems.

Blooms June–September.

Size: 2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 6.


Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain’ (p-0132)
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Salvia ‘Waverly’  full sun
Salvia  Waverly

Like a well planned composition, this Salvia blends white fuzzy flowers, blushed with the palest of pinks and predominate purple calyxes against a graceful foil of textured grayish green foliage.

Given to us by David Salmon of High Country Gardens, we planted it in front of Cotinus ‘Grace’, whose leaves repeat the deep color of ‘Santa Barbara’s calyxes.

Blooms late June–early November.

Size: 3' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 8.

AVAILABLE MID SEPTEMBER 2014

Salvia ‘Waverly’ (p-0660)
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August Newsletter

Can you Dig It?

An E-newsletter from Digging Dog Nursery

August–October, 2014 .

Straight from the Border

Tips that may help your landscape survive out-of-the ordinary weather!

Has the weather in your area been more extreme this past year? Maybe you’re noticing increased rainfall, polar-cold winters or hot parched summers. If so, we’ve put together an enticing selection of hale and hearty plants that not only tolerate, but actually thrive in tough situations. We’ve also included some cultural practices that we’ve found helpful over the years.

  • If you are in the midst of a drought, you might consider applying a heavy mulch or adding organic matter to a garden bed to help retain moisture. Watering in the evening or at night, in addition to less frequent, heavier waterings will reduce water usage. In dire situations, perennials, grasses and even some shrubs can be pruned back. This won’t harm them in any way and will greatly diminish their water needs.
  • To improve drainage in overly moist areas, you may wish to create a raised planting bed, incorporating a sandy loam. Be sure to position the crown of your plants right at soil level or slightly above. Planting them too deep allows moisture to accumulate at the base of the plant, which can lead to rot.
  • When preparing for an extra cold winter, certain plants may benefit by an early August pruning rather than later in the fall. This ensures enough time for the pruned tips to harden off and for some new growth to push. Allowing the spent stems to remain standing atop perennials will shelter their crowns on those frosty nights. A fast draining mulch may also increase cold tolerance. Reemay, a sheer fabric which water can penetrate, or even an old wool coat or blanket can be draped over your plants, raising the temperature a few precious degrees during an occasional, unanticipated cold snap.

Who ever said gardening was for the faint-at-heart? When contemplating our leafy havens, it’s important to anticipate the unexpected, embrace change and remember there’s always next year. Our gardens promote hope, possibility and promise. As long as we possess cheerful resignation, an adventuresome spirit and a sense of humor, we’ll be satisfied gardeners.

Sun-loving, water thrifty toughies:

  • Argyrocytisus battandieri
    Hailing from North Africa’s Atlas Mountains and sadly rare in cultivation, this RHS award winning, vigorous small tree boasts an extraordinary appearance that understates its surprising hardiness. Large, erect cone-shaped clusters with dense pineapple-scented lemon-yellow flowers festoon the velvety gray-green trifoliate leaves. Evergreen in milder climates, Pineapple Broom’s upright yet relaxed looking bushy habit injects a sumptuous dose of summer cheer to a warm wall, seating area or the backside of a mixed planting. It relishes regular pruning and good drainage, endures deer, poor soil, heat and dry conditions, and thankfully will not reseed. Hardy to zone 7. (T-0275)
  • cistus anne palmerCistus ‘Anne Palmer’
    Silvery pink, crepe-paper like petals float over this evergreen shrub’s ripple-edged gray-green foliage. Equally at home in tough coastal or inland environments. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0187)
  • cistus snow fireCistus ‘Snow Fire’
    Regarded by Eric Sammons as perhaps the most successful of his unreleased hybrids, this well-bred Cistus claims Cistus populifolius subsp. major and Cistus inflatus as its parents. ‘Snow Fire’ closely resembles ‘Snow White’, except for a slightly smaller, more spreading stance and its decorated blooms, whose blazing marks undoubtedly kindled the “fire” in this cultivar’s name. Dainty white overlapping petals surround a golden eye, and each is brushed by a prominent burgundy-red patch at its base. The bright green, wavy-edged leaves and reddish stems respond quite well to pruning. Blooms April–August. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0560)
  • Eragrostis chloromelas
    Blue Lovegrass
    Witness the ethereal haze of sheer amber-colored panicles floating on lax 3 ft. stalks over long fine cut powdery blue blades and you’ll see why we love this gorgeous South African denizen. The flowing warm season mound spreads slowly over time, while the gauzy inflorescences tantalize birds, butterflies and the rest of us through early winter. Appreciative of fast draining locations, Blue Lovegrass makes a sterling drought tolerant specimen or mass planting. Flank with Pennisetum spathiolatum and tall Molinias, and intersperse Sanguisorba ‘Chocolate Tip’ or Aster ‘Blue Danube’ for a spectacular painterly effect. Blooms June–November. Zone 6/7. (G-0540)
  • Eryngium planum ‘Silver Salentino’
    A snowy white multitude of plump conical flower heads perch atop pointed, widely spaced silver bracts. Leafy multi branching stems, pearly hued and steadfast, bolster the luminous blooms, while arising from an attractive dark green basal rosette defined by serrated leather like leaves and red-tinted petioles. Pair ‘Silver Salentino’ with Eryngium ‘Blue Glitter’ for a classic look. Blooms July – September. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1493)
  • Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii ‘John Tomlinson’
    A selection made from wild seed collected in the former Yugoslavia by the namesake, this charismatic Euphorbia is esteemed for its handsome compact profile and glowing yellow-green conical inflorescences. Large rounded and broad heads taper towards the base while housing crowded bell-shaped flowers. Hardy to zone 7. (P-1338)
  • Festuca mairei
    Indigenous to Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, this long lived cold hardy grass sprouts a gracefully arching fountain distinguished by handsome khaki-tinged gray-green blades. Taller than most Festucas, Atlas has quickly earned the reputation as one of the finest large area ground covers, proving indispensable for mass plantings on slopes, in mixed borders or natural style meadows. Evergreen where winters are mild and remarkably drought tolerant, its reliable good looking mound relishes occasional waterings and doesn’t require a trim, only a little raking. Hardy to zone 4. (g-0488)
  • Genista aetnensis
    Discovered on the lava-strewn slopes of Italy’s Mt. Etna, this fantastic large shrub or small tree hosts sparsely arranged tiny green leaves and round arching slender green stems, creating an airy semitransparent effect. A fragrant sun-struck explosion of copious bright yellow pea-shaped flowers bedazzles its graceful narrow frame, which casts little shade and never overwhelms. Well-suited for lean, yet sharply draining soil, easily grown Genista aetnensis can take intense sun and heat, requires very little water, especially summer irrigation, will not reseed unlike its ill-mannered cousins and imparts untold elegance to a warm sheltered spot. Zone 7/8. (S-0761)
  • merrist wood creamx Halimiocistus wintonensis ‘Merrist Wood Cream’
    Lovely, yet tough and drought resistant, x Halimiocistus is a cross between the genera Halimium and Cistus. This demure evergreen cultivar was raised at Merrist Wood Horticultural College in 1970. Its low spreading form hosts soft yellow flowers embellished with wine-red spots at the base of each petal and narrow gray-green leaves. Hardy to zone 7. (S-0044)
  • Helianthemum ‘Henfield Brilliant’
    Paper-thin, bright orange-red blooms make a toasty statement against a bed of gray-green leaves. Blooms May–July. Hardy to zone 4. (P-0943)
  • Lavandula angustifolia ‘Ellagance Purple’
    Introduced by Kieft Seeds of the Netherlands, this fantastic 2008 Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner offers a perfumed plethora of large vivid purple-blue flower spikes bolstered by swank silver-green slender leaves. ‘Ellagance Purple’ achieves an impeccable well-branched mound, that is compact and just right for nestling into tight spots. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0767)
  • Lavandula angustifolia ‘Thumbelina Leigh’
    First spotted by Kiwis Elsie and Brian Hall as a markedly unique seedling in a bed of Lavandula angustifolia ’Hidcote’, ’Thumbelina Leigh’ is distinctive for its compact spherical habit and short sturdy well-branched flower wands, offering a vibrant highly aromatic profusion of dense two-toned blooms. The sweet smelling rounded blossoms feature deep purple pubescent calyxes plus large corollas, colored both a bright violet-blue and dark lavender-violet. A stellar addition to path edges, the rockery, knot gardens and containers, the small impeccably formed gray-green mound celebrates a flowery encore if you shear one-third of its mass after the first bloom. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0776)
  • Marrubium supinum
    Soft-as-velvet, crinkle-edged and reminiscent of scallop shells, the diminutive rounded leaves are ash green on top and a fuzzy frosted celadon below. Tightset textural foliage and downy white stems weave a low, pearl-hued cushion-like mat that stages leafy flower stems with whorled, small rosy mauve blooms. Possessing an unwavering tenacity, this good-looking evergreen ground cover cavorts throughout southern Spain and northwest Africa, and can charm a niche in the rockery or along a path in your garden. Blooms June–July. Hardy to zone 6. (P-1765)
  • origanum libanoticumOriganum x ‘Amethyst Falls’
    Esteemed plantsman and Bluebird Nursery owner Harlan Hamernik selected this Origanum for its exceptional floral detail. Aromatic, glaucous green-gray leaves compile a shapely drought resistant bed that unleashes large pendant sprays distinguished by extravagant quantities of layered chartreuse bracts and small, protruding vivid amethyst flowers. Delivering an unparalleled, several month showing, the rotund conelike blooms can be left to promote winter hardiness, and staged in a container or easy-to-see spot with a sunny southwestern exposure and quick draining soil. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1464)
  • Origanum libanoticum
    Embellished by small rose-pink flowers, droves of stacked, overlapping pale green and blush-colored bracts look like slender papery ornaments. Exceptional in dried arrangements, these large decorative blooms hang from the tips of long, wiry, arching stems, loosely lined with smooth, nearly round, green leaves. A little more upright and more open than ‘Kent Beauty’, this captivating Origanum deserves a spot where it can be easily cherished. Hardy to zone 6. (P-1220)
  • Pennisetum spathiolatum
    Slender Veldt Grass
    A denizen of South Africa, this drought tolerant evergreen grass has low growing, narrow dark green blades that provide a verdant contrast to its tawny colored tapers. The dense, abundantly produced inflorescences hover on jointed nearly invisible stems, some 2 to 3 ft. tall, while fashioning a delightful see-through veil. Especially mesmerizing when grouped in a dry creek bed, a meadow or a water wise garden, the Slender Veldt Grass asks only for a well drained abode. Blooms June – October. Zone 6/7. (G-0511)
  • Sedum spurium ‘Voodoo’
    There’s no escaping the spell that these devilishly handsome dark leaves and neon bright blooms will cast on you. Topped with a rosy red summertime icing of tiny star-shaped flowers arranged in 4-branched clusters, the rich mahogany red foliage is thick, obovate and toothed at the tips, while shrouding merlot-infused trailing stems. ‘Voodoo’ conjures a short trouble free carpet-like ground cover that relishes sandy or rocky soil, stays evergreen in milder climates, detests over watering and abates erosion. Hardy to zone 3. (P-1776)
  • Sedum telephium ‘Karfunkelstein’
    Fancied as one of the rising stars at the 2006 RHS Sedum Trials, this exceptional Ernest Pagels prodigy has a dainty demeanor. Copious rose red buds and small dusky pink flower heads crest a close-knit sea of upright multibranched green stems infused with lavish beet red shades. Ideal for gardens where space is scarce, the short stalwart stalks never flop and are clad in toothed gray-green spoon-shaped leaves with slate purple overtones. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1717)

Moisture aficionados:

  • Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’
    A statuesque beauty, ‘Venusta’ is distinguished by huge, fluffy cloudlike plumes painted with soft salmon pinks floating above a good-sized, leafy mass of upright stems and jagged, Maple-shaped foliage. Forging an impressive stand in a moist well drained setting, Meadow Sweet seldom needs staking, and makes an airy partner for Trollius ‘ Superbus’. Blooms July–August. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1024)
  • ligularia rocketLigularia stenocephala ‘The Rocket’
    While stenocephala refers to the “narrow-headed flower,” ‘The Rocket’ sums up even better the form of this Ligularia, as well as the charged energy it inspires. The large leaves are kelly-green, heart-shaped, and feature coarsely serrated margins. Strong shoots emerge in the spring, which unfurl to create an underlayer of verdant leaves for the clear yellow racemes to blast through on their way to altitudes of 5 ft. Striking and easily grown, it will sparkle in a wooded setting with Rodgersia nearby, or at water’s edge. Blooms July–August. Hardy to zone 5. (P-0101)
  • lysimachia aureumLysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’
    Golden Creeping Jenny
    Native to Europe and Russia, Golden Creeping Jenny has naturalized in North America. Bearing tiny, bright yellow flowers, it creates a striking understory of round, golden foliage and, if planted at the edge of a pond, will reach into the water like rays of sunlight. For stunning contrast, place near plants with purple foliage. Blooms April–September. Hardy to zone 5. (P-0545)
  • rodgersiaRodgersia aesculifolia
    Fingerleaf Rodgersia
    Rodgersias are fine architectural specimens characterized by brownish black, fleshy rhizomes and large textured leaves spreading to a foot across, so be sure to provide these plants with plenty of space. Similar to the palmate leaves of Horse Chestnut, the crinkled foliage of this species is tinted bronze and heavily veined. The 7 leaflets radiate from the center and shaggy brown hair covers the loosely branched stalks, which hold pyramidal flowers, ranging in color from porcelain white to muted pink. Blooms June–mid-August. Hardy to zone 5. (P-0311)
  • Salvia uliginosa
    Bog Sage
    Uliginosa means “of the marshes”, in this case those between the forests of southern Brazil and Argentina’s fertile pampas. Eye-catching white flecked azure blue flowers soar atop slender branching stems lined with narrow lance-shaped green leaves. A quick-to-establish colonizing perennial, Bog Sage presents an airy, strong and erect habit that doesn’t need staking and flourishes in moist niches along streams or ponds and in ordinary garden conditions, even tolerating heavy or dry soil. For a spectacular effect, plant it alongside Anemone ’Andrea Atkinson’. Blooms August–October. Hardy to zone 6. (P-0997)
  • Tricyrtis ‘Empress’
    Renowned for its extra large and wider open flowers, this exquisite, newly introduced Toad Lily is a formosana hybrid. Ornate, spidery spaced petals are inscribed by occasional darkened tips and irregular velvet-rich deep purple spots, stipples and mottling on a creamy white background. An enticing fall beacon amongst the shadows, ‘Empress’s showy terminal blooms are supported by an upright robust gathering of lustrous, semi-clasping dark green foliage that stays dapper all season. Blooms August – September. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1469)

Stalwart plants undaunted by subzero weather:

  • Achillea filipendulina ‘Parker’s Variety’
    A well-loved garden mainstay, this steadfast AGM recipient features dense golden floral plates, rising like harvest moons, on stout upright leafy stems above a handsome pewter green mound of deeply dissected aromatic foliage. Grateful for lean somewhat dry sites, ‘Parker’s Variety’ asserts a regal stature and richly colored corymbs with complementary accents amid blue flowering neighbors such as Salvia ‘Nekan’ or Agapanthus ‘Storm Cloud’. Blooms June–August. Hardy to zone 3. (P-0004)
  • Aster novae-angliae ‘Harrington’s Pink’
    New England Aster
    Celebrated by Graham Stuart Thomas for conveying “much garden charm,” this well-loved Aster’s attraction is her pink flowers and her tall profile. Lavish quantities of delicate gold-centered daisies house nearly 50 layered, extra fine rays each, while cresting thick, straight, somewhat woody branched stalks. Bred by Mr. Hilliard from Williamsburg, Iowa, the robust, grayish green clump crowded with stem-clasping, bristle-rough, 4 to 5 in. long leaves tolerates wet soil and some shade, resists mildew and can accompany Sedum ‘Indian Chief’ and blue blooming Asters. Blooms August – September. Hardy to zone 3. (p-1426)
  • bergeniaBergenia ‘Magic Giant’
    Big varnished rosettes of thick, extra large rounded evergreen foliage beams purplish bronze colors that indeed work magic on a bleak winter landscape. A verdant foil the rest of the year, dark green leaves reach up to a foot long and 9 in. across, while supporting dense rosy pink flower clusters, defined by red centers, white stamens and open starry faces on stout wine-hued stems. Bedazzled with jewel tones and texture galore, this hybrid Bergenia crafts an exceptional, easy care ground cover for moist poorly drained banks, stream sides or borders. Blooms April–May. Hardy to zone 3. (P-1747)
  • Clematis ‘Pamiat Serdtsa’
    (Integrifolia group)
    With a name that translates “memory of the heart,” this vine’s floral elegance is hard to forget. Long blooming and satin sheened, the rich colored heliotrope purple blooms show off darker, glossier midribs. Caught in a partially open, spirited flounce that surrounds pale yellow anthers, the 3 in. long tepals are sometimes twisted and irregularly edged. ‘Pamiat Serdtsa’s sturdy herbaceous shoots will climb and saunter but not cling, while slightly nodding blooms pose suspended from subtly crooked stems. Developed at the Ukraine’s Nikita Botanic Garden, she etches an exquisite juxtaposition of color when meandering up through Spiraea ‘Ogon’ in the mixed border. Blooms July–September. Hardy to zone 3. (T-0243)
  • Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’
    Red Osier Dogwood
    With common names like Hart’s Rouges, Kinnikinnik and Shoemack, who would expect this North American riparian native to be a vibrant beauty igniting the winter landscape? ‘Cardinal’ sculpts an unflappable, extremely cold-hardy multi-stemmed shrub that has a lot to offer: fiery red-hued stems in winter, flat-topped clusters of petite white flowers in spring, creamy white summertime fruit, and dark green deciduous foliage manifesting a purple-red fall display. Beloved by gardeners, birds and the azure butterfly, the Red Osier Dogwood prefers rich, somewhat moist soil, but tolerates a variety of sites and can be ensconced near Acer griseum for an intriguing blend of colors and textures. Trim roots to remove unwanted suckers and prune 30% of the old wood in early spring to stimulate brilliant new growth. Blooms August – September. Hardy to zone 3. (S-0733)
  • Panicum amarum ‘Dewey Blue’
    Bitter Switch Grass
    Populating Delaware’s coastal sand dunes near the town of Dewey, noted grass expert, Rick Darke selected this kingly Panicum for its blue, oh-so-blue smooth glaucous blades and elegant fountain like stance. Distinctive straight-up stems bolster light airy plumes, followed by caramel-colored seed heads persisting well into winter. ‘Dewey Blue’ is not only a stunning showman but an enduring workhorse whose slowly spreading rhizomes form clumps that are vital in stabilizing seashore ecosystems, as well as withstanding hot dry summers and varied garden soils. Blooms August – October. Hardy to zone 3. (G-0500)
  • Persicaria affinis ‘Dimity’
    Himalayan Fleeceflower
    he deep green leaves of this graceful ground cover turn a rich brown during the winter and form a thick mat over a few seasons. The jointed, wine-red stems pick up the accents in the white and crimson flowers which are arranged, lavender like, along dense 2 to 3 in. terminal spikes held over a foot above the foliage. As the blooms mature, they darken to a crimson-rose shade, and finally end their days colored a rich rusty brown. Blooms late May–September. Hardy to zone 3. (P-0250)

Current Staff’s Favorite Plant

staff favorite plant

Everyone at DD loves Tricyrtis ‘Empress’ (P-1469) for its ornate late season flower, which never fails to jazz up a shady nook!

Renowned for its extra large and wider open flowers, this exquisite, newly introduced Toad Lily is a formosana hybrid. Ornate, spidery spaced petals are inscribed by occasional darkened tips and irregular velvet-rich deep purple spots, stipples and mottling on a creamy white background. An enticing fall beacon amongst the shadows, ‘Empress’s showy terminal blooms are supported by an upright robust gathering of lustrous, semi-clasping dark green foliage that stays dapper all season.

Blooms August – September.

Size: 2-¼' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

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