Sage Ad­vice

Step up your gar­den’s aes­thetic by adding salvias to your plant­ing en­sem­ble

Condé Nast House & Garden - - DESIGN SOLUTIONS -

Com­monly known as sage, salvias are well-known for their medic­i­nal and culi­nary at­tributes. But when a cul­ti­var scoops up sec­ond place in the rhs Plant of the Year com­pe­ti­tion, you know you’re in es­teemed com­pany. Last year, salvia ‘crys­tal Blue’ made it known that these hardy peren­ni­als are as func­tional as they are good look­ing. We asked great comp nurs­ery in Kent, as well as lo­cal land­scape de­sign­ers and spe­cial­ist grow­ers, to share a few trade se­crets on how to max­imise their or­na­men­tal po­ten­tial.

colour on cue

‘The genus boasts the truest blues and rich­est reds of any species of flow­ers,’ says plant grower Leoné Wil­liams of Pe­tal Faire nurs­ery. used in borders or as state­ment con­tainer plants, their aro­matic fo­liage and vi­brant flow­ers will en­sure pock­ets of colour through­out the year.

‘When it comes to cool hues,’ says land­scaper dei­dre caus­ton of In­spi­ra­tions in Jo­han­nes­burg, ‘noth­ing beats the Salvia x ja­men­sis ‘Bleu ar­mor’ with its sky-blue blooms and white cen­tres.’ an­other pop­u­lar op­tion in this colour­way is the com­pact, showy

S. fari­nacea (Mealy-cup sage), adds land­scape de­signer grant gove of glc de­sign stu­dio.

‘Planted in large swathes, Salvia

leu­can­tha (Wild Mex­i­can sage) forms a beau­ti­ful back­drop to most plant beds,’ says land­scape de­signer cara smith of cape con­tours Land­scape so­lu­tions. on trend va­ri­eties in­clude ‘Mid­night’ (a beau­ti­ful dark pur­ple), ‘White

Mis­chief ’ and ‘daniella’s dream’ (white with soft pink bracts).

‘I ab­so­lutely love the large grey ar­row­shaped leaves and strik­ing dusty pink flow­ers of the S. ca­narien­sis (ca­nary Is­land sage),’ says cara. This, mixed with S.

cleve­landii (cal­i­for­nia Blue sage), puts on a spec­tac­u­lar show in spring.

For warmer shades of glow­ing red, rich ma­genta and bright pink, dei­dre sug­gests S. greg­gii ‘carmine’, s. ‘heat­wave sparkle’, s. ‘heat­wave Blast’ and S. greg­gii ‘sweet Lips’.

hardy Beauty

a big draw­card is that most salvias are hardy and drought tol­er­ant. In terms of wa­ter-wise plant­ing com­pan­ions, op­tions abound. ‘rus­sian sage (Perovskia), rose­mary ‘Tus­can Blue’ and aga­pan­thus va­ri­eties like ‘Twis­ter’ and ‘Queen Mum’ pair well with salvia in the same colour spec­trum,’ says dei­dre.

a favourite among coastal gar­den­ers is Salvia africana-lutea (Beach salvia).

‘The showy or­angey-brown bracts mix beau­ti­fully with Me­ta­la­sia muri­cata and

Ple­costachys ser­pyl­li­fo­lia,’ notes cara. salvias mix well with or­na­men­tal grasses. cara sug­gests us­ing swathes of Era­grostis

curvula and S. leu­can­tha ‘Mid­night’ as a back­drop to line long drive­way edges.

‘In nat­u­ral­is­tic gar­dens, sage can be in­ter­wo­ven with Jus­ti­cia bran­degeana, Pen­nise­tum se­taceum ‘rubrum’, Achil­lea mille­folium, cro­cos­mia ‘Lava glow’ and Pen­ste­mon spp.,’ says grant. no herb gar­den is com­plete with­out aro­matic sage. Pair S. el­e­gans (Pineap­ple sage) with a clas­sic com­bi­na­tion of aro­matic basil, rose­mary and laven­der.

from far left or­na­men­tal grasses make ideal com­pan­ions to salvias; s. ‘dyson’s joy’ (try salvia ‘denise’ for a lo­cal equiv­a­lent) right the nurs­ery at great comp gar­den in kent, eng­land

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