Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A New Fab Salvia

This week I wanted to share my discovery of a fabulous new Salvia on the market - Salvia libanensis. Since they've described it so well, I'll let Annie's Annuals introduce you to it. "A fantastically fuzzy, exceptionally rare and endangered WINTER-BLOOMING Salvia! Endemic to the Colombian Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, where its habitat is being destroyed by deforestation, it grows to an impressive 9’ tall and wide with large (4-5” long), fuzzy, heart-shaped leaves. Produces 6” or longer, dense racemes of bright red 2.5” flowers held in fuzzy red calyxes that remain highly ornamental long after the flowers have dropped. The most impressive floral display occurs from Winter into Spring with occasional flowers appearing throughout the year. Provide excellent drainage and plant where it can receive protection from hot afternoon sun. Looks best with a good annual pruning to keep it more compact and bushy."
Now, not everyone will have room for this beauty but I imagine it can be kept to 4-6' with some pruning. It's dramatic blooms will certain be welcome in winter. Annie's has it for sale now in case you want to pick it up and Grand Lake Ace Garden Center has some too.
Here's a photo, courtesy of Annie's, to get your juices flowing.
And then more photos from my garden. I wanted to take a moment to share a few thoughts about the photos I take. I am not a professional photographer and I'm working with a nice but basic camera. As well, I'm not attempting to take a 'photo contest' type of photo of my plants. My goal is to show them as real plants, warts and all, in a natural setting. Certainly I'm trying to capture their beauty or some interesting feature, but very few will show the plant in an idealized fashion. And sometimes I take a photo of a particular plant so I can share a bit about it. In this case the photo is the jumping off point, a reference, to introduce it to readers.
Okay, on that note here's this week's 'bright spots.'

Here is what all the fuss is about with the Salvia libanensis. Eye-catching to be sure!

Speaking of another fab salvia that can get big, here's a shot of my S. elegans Golden Delicious as it begins to bloom. It makes a near solid 'wall' of golden foliage, from which bright red flowers explode like little firecrackers.

Begonia rex Escargot. Everybody's favorite rex-style begonia, this year my specimen produced a few especially large leaves. Though it does produce clusters of little pink flowers, with this begonia it's all about the foliage.

Ad infinitum bests describes the blooming period for Flowering tobacco plants. Here it's a Nicotiana grandiflora, one of the fragrant ones.

This sweet and unassuming flower is aptly called a Rain lily. It's a Zephyranthes, a type of bulbous perennial found throughout the Americas. Though it doesn't seem so at first glance, it's a member of the Amaryllis family. It responds to fall and winter rains, thus its common name.

Though my Tecoma x smithii is still producing clusters of peachy-orange flowers, here I wanted to show off the clusters of legume-like seedpods. It was one of the plants I featured in my Pacific Horticulture Magazine article on Interesting Seedpods.

Here it's a triple play of Begonias. On the left is the sprawling B. Gryphon, displaying green-ribbed silvery leaves. To its right is a B. Fannie Moser, featuring some of the darkest leaves in the begonia family. Finally, on the far right is a unique, some might say odd, Begonia Funky Pink. Nope, didn't make that name up. Not quite sure how it's 'bringing the funk' but there you have it.

Heliotropium 'Alba.' I just love the pop of the white flowers against the verdant green leaves. And the flowers are much more fragrant than on the purple variety.

This fabulous new Dianthus is called Cheshire Cat. It's one of the old 'bizarres' as they were called, which feature heavily speckling on the petals.

I include a photo of this simple Stock plant to remind everyone of the charms of this genus. There's nothing quite like the spicy scent it offers all through the fall and early winter. Did you know that this common plant is in the Matthiola genus and is native to the Mediterranean? It was named after Pierandrea Mattioli, an Italian botanist who cultivated Stock believing that it had medicinal value due to the fragrance. It doesn't but now we have its heady fragrance to enjoy.

Echeveria peacockii. I love the silvery patina on this sturdy succulent. It blooms readily but I almost like it better free of those distractions. While pretty with the sun shining on it, it has an eerie beauty on a cloudy day such as today.

I liked this new piece of art in part because it has the look of a tile mosaic sculpture. It isn't but the makers obviously had that in mind.

This colorful gecko was made by the same Haitian artists who make those lovely sculptures out of recycled oil drums. Not only that, it's a Fair Trade business, meaning that all of the money goes to the artists themselves. Although this is clearly a gecko, the bright colors seem more in keeping with a chameleon.

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