Which plant group is the backbone of the summer garden, delivering colour, fragrance and attracting the attention of beneficial wildlife and humans alike? The answer is perennials, that wonderful family of herbaceous plants that launch into life every spring.
Colour is key with perennials
Think of the stars of borders in gardens big and small and the chances are they will be perennials. Colour is key with perennials – there is such a varied palette to choose from. It’s up to you to decide the mood you want as the garden backdrop to your life – the excitement or vibrancy of red, the romance of pink or the calm of blue and for a plant family that offers all of these and more, look no further than perennial Salvia or sage plants.
Stunning colour and style
Offering true perennial perfection, these are a wonderful choice for gardeners looking to bring stunning colour and style to their borders. There is an amazing range to select from, many of them Award of Garden Merit holders, so you can be sure of getting top performance. Now is a great time to plant container grown plants and many salvias are drought tolerant, once established. This makes them a fantastic asset if you are gardening in a drier area.
Salvias attract wildlife
Some Salvias are great for attracting beneficial wildlife, including butterflies and bees. This will give a boost to the overall health of both your garden and the surrounding environment – so what are you waiting for? Like most perennials, Salvias are easy to look after. Some are fully hardy across the UK, but others are less so and in certain areas may be better looked on as annuals. Your local garden centre will be delighted to help with advice.
Sorts of Salvias
Here are some suggestions: Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ – a wonderful perennial reaching about 75cm in height, bearing violet to purple flowers, fully hardy; Salvia officinalis – a foliage plant with culinary uses, evergreen and hardy, up to 80cm high; Salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’ – great for a summer show of red flowers (tender). The closely related ‘Lady in White’ bears white flowers.
Salvia patens ‘Cambridge Blue is frost hardy (safe down to -5oC’) and produces very elegant, pale blue flowers. Salvia pratensis is a clump-forming perennial with a woody base. Up to 90cm in height and bearing flowers of violet, though in some case may be pink or white. Hardy.
Salvias are a sun-loving plant, so grow in either full sun or dappled shade. Soils need to be well-drained and moderately fertile. Remove flowers once they have ‘gone over’ (dead heading) and trim in late spring any shoots that spoil symmetry.