Sunday, January 17, 2010

Salvia repens

This South African salvia has been a surprise, in that it appears to be cold hardy, coming back from the roots for two winters thus far in the school garden. It also resows, so there is little chance of losing it, especially since it produces lots of seeds. It has pleasant foliage with a typical medicinal sort of salvia scent, and the small white flowers appear through the summer. It is not a tall plant, so it can be overwhelmed by larger neighbors, but it is also a pretty good competitor with plants in its own size class. Bees adore it, as they do most salvia species. I grew it out of a summer wildflowers seed mix that I got years ago from Kirstenbosch when they used to send free seeds to members of the Botanical Society of South Africa (sadly no longer the case, though you can still buy from their annual seed catalogue). I keep most seeds in the fridge, and thus they were still viable years later when I grew some of them out. Also seen in the pics is Silene armeria, a very easy to grow self sowing annual, quite pretty when it blooms en masse, though short lived. Both the salvia and the silene do best in sunny spots, and neither seems to mind less than ideal soil, so long as it is well drained.

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