JOHN’S JOURNAL

Salvia Flower Throughout the Summer

There’s lots of perennials out there to choose from, some of them with flowers which only last a short period, like Irises and Peonies, then there’s others which continue to flower throughout the summer months, having the ability to go on and on repeat flowering, high up the pecking order of plants to include in your flower beds to help that colour go on and on. Now at Holden Clough we always stick to varieties of plants which we know will thrive up in the north, and with Salvias there are some which we have tried and tested over the years.

There’s so many beautiful shades of blue, white, pink and ruby to choose from between the many different varieties it’s hard to know which ones to pick so let’s have a look at the different types. Now if you’re wanting something to repeat through a border then the Salvia nemerosa varieties are perfect, with their upright stems bearing candle like flowers they are great for giving low to medium interest amongst other taller perennials, Salvia Caradonna is top of the list with its deep purpley blue flowers and it will flower from late May through until October, all you need to do is trim off the old flowers and it will keep producing more from lower down, there are also other lighter blue, pink and also white varieties available, the Salvia nemerosa varieties also look delightful when combined with Stipa tenuissima  or more commonly known as Pony Tail Grass, a delightful natural combination.

Then there are the greggii or macrophylla types, these form mounds of foliage topped with many small forward facing flowers, Salvia ‘Hotlips’ is a well known variety with its signature red and white flowers, there is also ‘Amethyst Lips’ with purple and white flowers, ‘Cherry Lips’ with Ruby and White Flowers and then Blue Note with its royal blue flowers, they are the perfect pot plant flowering all Summer long or also great for the front of a mixed border. Only lightly trim them back in the Autumn by half and then don’t prune them back harder until the end of April., you will always think that they are dead but they will shoot away from the smallest of shoots and they need their old growth to help protect from any spring frosts. They also come easily from cuttings so always take some cuttings at the end of the second year to encourage new plants with juvenile vigour.

Finally there are some taller Salvias, we only grow one of them and that being the Salvia ‘Amistad’, it’s signature velvety blue purple flowers and growing up to 4ft tall it’s quite incredible, very statement like and great for combining with other colours, it also looks great in a pot. All Salvias are sun lovers and like a general soil, they also don’t mind clay, the key is to mix in organic matter when planting to help open it up and they will thrive and with them flowering for so long they really are a must in any garden

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

Do Salvias work well with Roses?

They are the perfect counterpart, the reason being is growing Salvias with Roses helps reduce the chance of blackspot and other diseases occuring on your Rose leaves, a great way to use nature to your advantage, and the bluey colours also compliment the shades of Roses beautifully.

Will Salvias grow in shade?

I’m afraid they are sun lovers, they will tolerate a west aspect so shade in the morning and then sun in the afternoon, or spoil them with a south aspect giving them sunshine all day long

What’s your favourite Salvia?

My favourite one is definitely Salvia ‘Caradonna’, it’s such a unique colour and it’s really intense, and with the shade of blue it really goes with either a pink, white and blue scheme or you can add it to orange and yellow to add drama and vibrancy, it’s great for threading through a bed to give long lasting colour and undulation amongst taller planting.

 

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

 

Plant of The Week

Salvia ‘Caradonna’

Probably in my top 5 favourite plants, growing to 18 inches tall with many upright stems of strong blue-purple flowers, great for combining in a cottage garden scheme, contemporary planting, or a natural scheme it ticks every box, flowering throughout the Summer it’s great value and also very hardy.