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Salvia (Sage)
at Digging Dog

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

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.

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 2014

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.

Salvia ‘Waverly’ (p-0660)
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Latest News

Straight from the Border: Enjoy autumn splendor in your garden.

Most gardeners experience a bittersweet sense of relief when the light finally shifts, lengthening shadows, shortening the days, and lulling the garden closer to it’s winter nap. Relieved of most of our watering duties, we usually have more time to pour ourselves a favorite beverage and slowly saunter through our leafy havens.

With mindful plant selection, a keen design sense, plus appropriate maintenance earlier in the season, a compelling fall garden will be yours to enjoy! During October and early November, our landscapes can offer extraordinary vignettes that celebrate a dynamic juxtaposition. Imagine brilliantly ignited leaves and stems, fanciful berries and glowing grass inflorescences set against the subdued beauty of diverse seed heads, peeling bark, artful limbs and mocha-hued fading foliage.

If you long for more blossoms later in the season, a mid-summer cut back of many herbaceous late-bloomers guarantees flower-power up until the first heavy frost. Along the same vein, a late spring pruning of tall architectural perennials ensures the longevity of their impressive stature, even as they morph into dormancy. Trimming the early spring flowering perennials that showcase exceptional foliage will keep them looking fresh throughout the fall.

The onset of cooler weather tends to be a good time to contemplate your plantings, taking note of the areas you may like to change. Try not to rush your fall cut-backs, since many spent flower heads as well as persistent fruit nourish the birds, and remember to be on the lookout for wondrous additions to your dried arrangements.

Whether they play a supporting role or act as shining stars, the exceptional plants mentioned in this newsletter promise to delight you with their fantastic late season appeal. Many regions across the country experience a safe fall planting period that extends into early November, so you may wish to dig some of these easily grown gems into your garden and get a head-start on next spring!

Perennials:

  • Anemone x hybrida ‘Alice’
    Unlike many Anemones, ‘Alice’ spreads slowly, growing into a clump 3 ft. across within three years. It is robust and upright with large leaves that outsize the foliage of most hybrida forms. In our garden, the semidouble soft pink flowers appear to float against a hedge of Carpinus and contrast well with the golden fall foliage of Amsonia hubrichtii. Hardy to zone 4. (p-0503)
    anemone

    Anemone x hybrida ‘Alice’

  • Aster lateriflorus ‘White Lovely’
    Calico Aster
    A preeminent star of the fall show, ‘White Lovely’ entertains petite, thin-petaled white daisies tinged lilac when mature and brightened by sunny-side-up yellow eyes. The copious, late summer flowers are borne along horizontally branched leafy sprays of arching and wide-angled, purple-streaked stems with small, slender dark green foliage that never tuckers out. We like to plant Monarda ‘Violet Queen’ and Melianthus ‘Antonow’s Blue’ behind while headlining this elegant Aster right up front. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1366)
  • Aster oblongifolius ‘Raydon’s Favorite’
    Aromatic Aster
    Mr. Raydon Alexander of San Antonio, Texas, said this hearty mint-scented Aster was his favorite, and we’re sure you’ll agree. Originating near Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, drought tolerant ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ quickly forges a valiant, dense mound that gets buried under multitudes of bright blue-lavender daisies. With late richly colored flowers, distinguished by sunlit yellow eyes and fine-textured single rays, and a no-fuss, orderly nature, it proves indispensable in the fall border. Zone 3/4. ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ (P-1611)
    aster

    Aster oblongifolius ‘Raydon’s Favorite’

  • Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
    Awash in a mercury-like effulgence, broad heart-shaped leaves are etched by light green veins creating the most dramatic crackled ceramic pattern. ‘Jack Frost’s highly refined silvered persona offsets bronze, green and gold foliage, while sky-blue flowers add a playful lift. A Walters Gardens’ introduction that originated from a ‘Langtrees’s sport, this Brunnera brings sterling accents to the darker corners of your garden. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1353)
    brunnera

    Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’

  • Eupatorium purpureum
    This robust cousin is from the taller side of the family (up to 6 or 7 ft.), and shares the wine red stem coloring of its smaller kin. Eupatorium purpureum features a stately carriage with broad, domed heads hosting purple-mauve flowers. It’s tough, reliable and effective for the back of the border. Hardy to zone 4. (p-1081)
    eupatorium

    Eupatorium purpureum

  • Euphorbia griffithii ‘Great Dixter’
    Renowned garden writer Christopher Lloyd, selected this Euphorbia for its sumptuous display of fiery hues. Heightened by purple coral shoots, reddish bronze stems, dark green foliage flushed with copper-red tints and burnt apricot-pink blooms, ‘Great Dixter’ seldom experiences a lackluster moment. The unforgettable brilliance that emanates from this superb, compact griffithii can be shown to great affect next to Brunnera ‘Langtrees’s soothing colors. Hardy to zone 6. (P-1232)
    euphorbia

    Euphorbia griffithii ‘Great Dixter’ with Calamagrostis foliosa

  • Geranium ‘Orion’
    Named after one of the brightest constellations in Europe’s night sky, this possible ‘Brookside’ seedling extends a shining floral display. Large, saucer-shaped and brilliantly blue flowers enhanced by violet-red veins and luminous whitened centers levitate above a mass of ample, finely dissected greenery. Courtesy of Dutch nurseryman Brian Kabbes, long blooming ‘Orion’ can be partnered with Helianthemum ‘Wisley Pink’ for sparkling color. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1266)
  • Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jonas’
    Promising early winter floral magic, this superbly bred selection boasts a luminous bevy of yellow-stamened crisp white petals atop burgundy stems. Defined by 7 petals, as opposed to the usual 5, and a light green or blush pink coloration as they age, full forward-facing flowers rise from dark green toothed leaves that shape a lustrous evergreen foil. Perfect for holiday decorating, ‘Jonas’ can be enjoyed in bouquets, in a lightly shaded mixed planting or a magnificent container specimen on the patio. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1806)
  • Phlomis russeliana
    With architectural assertiveness, stout straight stems broadcast separate whorls of butter yellow hooded blooms. Maintaining a stalwart beauty throughout the winter, the stalks look equally impressive whether fresh or dried as they stand above large and broad, heart-shaped olive-green leaves. The fuzzy, scalloped foliage develops into a plush low growing, evergreen cover that keeps those pesky weeds at bay.In our garden, Phlomis russeliana casts bold accents along a pathway, assorting with Aster ‘Ringdove’ and Molinias. Hardy to zone 4. (p-1314)
  • 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. Hardy to zone 9. (p-0214)
  • 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. Hardy to zone 5. (p-0813)
  • Salvia uliginosa
    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'. Hardy to zone 6. (P-0997)
  • Saxifraga stolonifera ‘Maroon Beauty’
    Strawberry Begonia
    Named for its slender strawberry-like red runners and flashy maroon undersides, this colonizing Saxifraga hosts intricately etched evergreen rosettes of thick rounded gray-green leaves with scalloped margins, silver hairs and pewter veins. Rising above the low growing velvet soft mat, wispy 5-petaled pink-tinged white flowers are loosely arranged on delicate 18 in. stalks. Appreciative of shade and evenly moist well-drained soil, ‘Maroon Beauty’ lends enchanting accents to the woodlands, rockery or a small container. Hardy to zone 7. (P-1819)
    saxifrage

    Saxifraga stolonifera ‘Maroon Beauty’

  • Selinum wallichianum
    This refined Himalayan beauty happens to be one of our favorite perennial umbellifers. With untold elegance, infinitely divided leaves craft a delicate, lacelike transparency. The compact yet airy green canopy is framed by distinctive, purple-infused branching stems that elevate a charming, late season display of white flattened umbels. Subduing the riotous array of summertime blooms, it seldom needs staking, appreciates a well draining moist niche and can be sited amid Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’ and Echinacea Big Sky ‘Sunrise’. Hardy to zone 7. (p-1406)
  • 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, heightening ‘Karfunkelstein’s prismatic presentation. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1717)
  • Verbena bonariensis
    Brazilian Vervain
    A celebrated perennial whose fans include both experienced gardeners and novices, and florists and hummingbirds, this versatile South American native delivers outstanding flower power. Rough, lance-shaped dark green basal foliage gives way to wiry and sparsely leafed angular-branching stems, which elevate a consortium of tiny lavender violet blooms. With fragrant flowers borne in dense tufts atop its airy profile, Brazilian Vervain brings a colorful carefree look to cottage gardens or more wild venues, especially when paired with ornamental grasses. Hardy to zone 7. (P-1720)
  • Yucca dismetiana ‘Blue Boy’
    Dressed in gray icy greens and powder blues with a dusky purple overlay, this handsome pastel-hued treasure exhibits a tough disposition. Rigid evergreen leaves with sharp pointed tips and fine-toothed margins craft a rounded barrel-like rosette that develops slowly, its amethyst coloration intensifying as the weather heats up. Waxy white pendulous flowers draped on stout panicles deliver late summer sparkle. Unfazed by mettlesome deer, drought, moisture and humidity, ‘Blue Boy’ can harmonize with Melianthus ‘Antonow’s Blue’ and Festuca ‘Superba’. Zone 7/8. (P-1495)
    yucca

    Yucca purpurea

Grasses:

grasses

Grasses and hornbeam columns

  • Andropogon gerardii
    Big Bluestem
    Historically renowned as the sod our ancestors broke their backs busting, Big Bluestem is the most widespread of all the prairie grasses. Its regal and wild color show makes it a must in our garden. Growing to great size, the stand’s lush, blue-blushed summer greenery becomes a burgundy and copper glory at first frost. Soaring three-pronged red seed heads beg its other common name, Turkeyfoot. Reliable, heat tolerant and sturdy, Andropogon gerardii thrives in poorly drained clay to dry sandy soils, and easily transitions the outskirts of your garden into the wild meadow beyond. Hardy to zone 4. (g-0448)
  • Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’
    Karl Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass
    Named for pioneering German nurseryman Karl Foerster, this selection bears loose and airy 12 in. seed heads, which tighten to slender plumes by midsummer. Rising above 2 ft. clumps of narrow green foliage, the inflorescences create an ideal semitransparent veiling effect. Plant with deep green Viburnums to accentuate its golden flowering stems. Hardy to zone 5. (g-0003)
  • 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. Zone 6/7. (G-0540)
    eragrastis

    Eragrostis chloromelas

  • Hakonechloa macra ‘Beni-kaze’
    With the same overflowing grace as its relatives, newly introduced ‘Beni-kaze’ entertains brilliant red fall colors. The lax green mound of loosely arranged, draped blades remains green until cooler weather ignites the smooth foliar ribbons and begs its name, which translates “red wind.” Lolling in the late season shadows, this larger growing Hakonechloa echoes the warm-hued fanfare of autumnal foliage. Hardy to zone 6. (G-0497)
  • Miscanthus sinensis ‘Positano’
    A graceful standout, ‘Positano’ warms the fall landscape with sunkissed colors. Large, red, glistening plumes are cast well above the impressive upright fountain of arching, fine textured blades. Etched by pewter midribs, the foliage grows in a sophisticated crisscross pattern and when fall arrives, transmutes toasty reds and oranges. Revered grass aficionado Ernst Pagels raised this clump-forming cultivar whose first-class profile and rich hues can accentuate Rudbeckia ‘Goldquelle’ and Helianthus ‘Capenoch Star’. Hardy to zone 5. (G-0491)
  • 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. Zone 6/7. (G-0511)
    pennisetum sesleria hydrangea

    Pennisetum spathiolatum (back), Sesleria ‘Greenlee’ (front) and Hydrangea paniculata

  • Sesleria ‘Greenlee’
    John Greenlee’s Moor Grass
    Exhibiting attributes from both parents, this tidy looking evergreen, discovered by grass aficionado John Greenlee, is thought to be a hybrid between Sesleria caerulea and Sesleria autumnalis. Blue-tinged green blades bear a likeness to Sesleria cearulea’s, but are longer, while the blooms resemble those of Sesleria autumnalis, except for being thicker, more elongated and for turning a purplish brown hue when mature. Topped by reflective green inflorescences with creamy yellow pollen sacs, thin stems rise well above the versatile upright clump that maintains its composure through a multitude of exposures such as sun, shade, moisture, heat or drought. ‘Greenlee’ renders a sprightly verdant statement whether massed in a meadow or a more formal setting. Zone 6/7. (G-0525)

Shrubs:

  • Aronia melanocarpa ‘Iroquois Beauty’
    A versatile North American native originating in Morton Arboretum, this small-statured deciduous shrub proposes something exceptional for each season: fragrant spring flowers, courtly summer foliage, brilliant fall color and persistent winter berries. Flaunting an autumnal pageant of stunning red, burgundy and purple hues, lustrous, deeply green, thickened leaves garb the compact, dense multitude of suckering stems. Airy, Hawthorne-like flowers gathered in white, 2 in. wide, eye catching corymbs precede the heavy clusters of polished purple-black berries that gracefully weigh down branches and bring color to gray December days. Obliging of low-lying wet areas, dry sandy sites and some shade, easy-to-grow ‘Iroquois Beauty’ thrives in full sun and can reside with equal ease in a small garden, a mixed border or a naturalized setting when planted en masse. Hardy to zone 3. (S-0600)
    pennisetum sesleria hydrangea

    Aronia melanocarpa ‘Iroquois Beauty’

  • Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’
    Purple Beautyberry
    A beacon for the fall border, this deciduous Korean species is considered by many to be the most refined Beautyberry, and its boldly hued early September fruit occurs well before other varieties. Small and shiny, rounded berry clusters achieve an astonishing, almost electric lavender hue. Flowers are delicate, diminutive and pink, quietly dressing up its handsome, very green leaf mass and gracefully rounded form. ‘Early Amethyst’ prefers well drained soil, tolerates some drought, appreciates a late winter pruning and produces more fruit when planted in groups. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0587)
  • Escallonia laevis ‘Gold Brian’
    Spangled with incandescent, gleaming golden foliage and terminal panicles of long blooming raspberry-colored flowers, this drop-dead gorgeous evergreen shrub promises to delight you throughout the seasons. The dashing medium-sized rounded leaves are leathery and toothed, transmuting fresh lime-green shades during the summer. Acquiescent to salt spray and varied soil conditions, even dry ones, ‘Gold Brian’s bushy hard-to-miss visage demands a well-drained abode, a trim immediately after the blossoms are spent and protection from hot afternoon sun. Zone 7/8. (S-0759)
    escallonia

    Escallonia laevis ‘Gold Brian’

  • Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’
    Though its name might make you think otherwise, this shrub is a showcase of earth tones. Its 8 in. long panicles of white flowers, which later take on a pinkish hue, stand out like snow against the beautiful cinnamon-brown, exfoliating bark and the large dark green Oak-like leaves that turn reddish purple in autumn. Hardy and undemanding, ’Snow Queen’ offers a fantastic fall display full of similar colors and contrasting forms when matched with Panicum ‘Warrior’. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0201)
  • Hydrangea paniculata ‘Unique’
    Left to its own designs, this vigorous Hydrangea has a natural upright and arching form, but it also responds well to pruning, making ‘Unique’ an effective choice where space is scarce. The immense flower heads are spectacular and abundant, and true to name are unique in shape, being quite broad at the base and bluntly rounded at the tip. They begin the season a creamy white and gradually darken to a buff pink. Hardy to zone 3. (s-0348)
    hydrangea

    Hydrangea paniculata ‘Unique’

  • Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’
    A newly introduced English cultivar, ‘Golden Lanterns’ has the same tantalizing attributes as the species but with an illuminated twist. Dark burgundy bracts and berries become intriguing counterpoints to amber-tinted new growth and the lambent yellow-green foliage that promises to brighten your daytime, or even moonlight garden stroll. Zone 6/7. (S-0609)
    leysteria

    Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’

  • Viburnum plicatum f tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’
    The most exceptional attribute of this deciduous Viburnum is its horizontal growth habit, featuring flowers and fruit in parallel rows along the branches. Distinguished by a smaller stature, and foliage that’s not quite as large as Viburnum ‘Shasta’, ‘Summer Snowflake’ maintains a more rounded form and blooms well into summer with an extravagant offering of pure white lacecap flowers. It’s lovely in containers, grouped in a drift, or as a star specimen. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0075)

Trees:

  • Chionanthus retusus
    Chinese Fringe Tree
    Named for its clustered, snow-white fleecy flowers, the broadly spreading Chinese Fringe Tree casts light shade with rounded leathery leaves. This deciduous Olive family member is a captivating, four season specimen displaying blue, egg-shaped summer fruit, warm yellow autumn foliage and peeling gray-brown bark in winter. Well sized for a lawn or small yard, it’s easily cultivated in moist, loamy soil. Grows slowly. Hardy to zone 5. (T-0008)
  • Cornus capitata
    Evergreen Dogwood
    An elegant, large evergreen shrub or small tree, this slow growing Dogwood is a perfect anchor for the shrubby border. Handsome, curved leathery leaves with light green veins provide a pleasing texture and turn bronze in the winter months. Buttonlike flower heads surrounded by creamy yellow bracts precede the long lasting, prominent, pinkish red strawberry-shaped fruit that appears in November and can be brought inside as a colorful complement to holiday greenery. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0364)
    dogwood

    Cornus capitata

  • Parrotia persica
    Persian Ironwood
    F. W. Parrot, who made the first ascent of Mt. Ararat in 1829, lends his name to this low branched, round headed, deciduous Persian native with tremendous landscape value. In spring, the silver, green and cream-colored smooth bark is complemented by lustrous green foliage and in autumn it’s highlighted by exquisite gold, rosy pink and crimson tones. Later, showy red stamens and wooly brown bracts create a reddish haze around bare limbs, making a virtual carousel of color and texture. Pest free Persian Ironwood prefers well drained soil and detests both overly wet or dry conditions. Grows moderately. 10’ in 6–8 yrs. Hardy to zone 5. (T-0016)

Current Staff’s Favorite Plant

staff favorite plant

We love Correa ‘Dusky Bells’ for it’s dainty red tubular flowers that are sprinkled amongst waxy green leaves, becoming one of winter’s more endearing attractions. The dainty long lasting blooms appear in autumn and persist through early spring, luring both gardeners and hummingbirds alike. Whether utilized as a low mounding specimen in a large vessel or as a tidy evergreen ground cover for banks, hillsides or other tough spots, the Red Australian Fuchsia favors good drainage and light shade where it’s hot. This densely branched shrub is undaunted by deer, ocean frontage, poor rocky sites, and occasional drought. Affiliate with other steadfast companions like Ceanothus ‘Concha’ and Stipa arundinacea. (S-0735)

More news, events, and favorite plants


Customer Comment:

“I just wanted to let you know that all the plants I ordered from you have arrived in wonderful condition.  Thank you very much.”

~Diana in Louisiana


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