Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Serendipitous Salvia


I've not driven by in the last few days since frost: it's probably fried...but through much of this interminable autumn this wonderful sage has provided a hot spot of beauty near the gardens I've made a point to check out. I believe it is the golden leaf form of Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious'), a tender Latin American I've grown in the past, but nowhere nearly so well as these neighbors of the Gardens on Williams street.
I am not a huge fancier of giant, tender annuals that bloom late: early frosts and our cool nights often thwart them, especially the magnificent tropical salvias that look so stunning in California or North Carolina in late summer and fall. Why bother to compete with them? Then I stumble on a little masterpiece like this and realize that it's location, location, location.
Denver is full of these remarkable vignettes where thoughtful gardeners have done something utterly novel and perfect. I love to make myself take new routes and explore new neighborhoods in this most wonderful city in America. I take that back: the greatest city in the world! What other place on earth would undewrite a crazy Greek American rock gardener for thirty years to play with plants?

6 comments:

  1. Salvia elegans like many of its southern cousins is an obligate short day plant. The length of time between floral initiation and bloom is long for a Salvia; time enough for the plant to experience a killing frost in northern latitudes before visible blooms are seen. Perhaps you experienced a long, frost free fall?

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  2. Damn savvy underwriters, if you ask me ;>}

    Can't say I share an appreciation for the look of this plant any more than I find Golden Delicious apples palatable, but I definitely can appreciate the locationlocationlocation sentiment...this is beautifully grown.

    "Thoughtful gardeners." Much to be said for that!

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  3. I have grown a host of short day Salvias that usually just open their first bloom in time for frost: We have had a fall of falls: there was a hard frost last Tuesday, and I'm sure this Salvia was fried (I'll drive by today and see)but maybe not. The Pelargoniums and hardy annuals like snaps and petunias are bravely blooming on pretty lustily, and Salvia greggii never looked so good! In fact, once I download my next set of pix I will blog on it...even Salvia microphylla 'Hotlips' from southern Mexico is unphased (and amazingly cold hardy).

    I agree, Christi, that yellow foliage is questionable: especially in Colorado's omnipresent sun where it is often singed and looks chlorotic. This sage somehow works. Now if we could only get it to bloom midsummer!

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  4. Maybe Christi would like more one of the greener versions of S. elegans: 'Frieda Dixon', 'Scarlet Pineapple', 'Honey Melon', 'Sonoran Red', Scarlet Tangerine' and/or 'Tangerine' and, of course, the species. I doubt that she would like the cultivar 'Golden Delicious'.

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  5. Panayoti ~ I've actually found (somewhat) new appreciation for yellow foliaged plants after moving to the Pacific Northwest from CA. In fact, any foliage or flowers in a *hot color* range are more beloved by me now. With so many gray days in a calendar year, they are unbeatable for making my heart pitter patter when prone to a state of the gloomies. My fave this fall tho, is a species dahlia from Annie's Annuals...the foliage is bronzey and the single flowers are a deep but electric orange...pitter patter!!! I featured it in a recent blog post if you want to pop over there and have a look.

    Anonymous ~ yes, you are right, the greener versions appeal to me more. This year I have 'Tangerine' in the garden and it is still blooming its silly head off. Mind you, we haven't dropped below about 42F yet (and no hard frost). But from 4" pots planted in late spring, they are now 4 feet across. That's a winner in my book!

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  6. Christi,
    I confess I am a bona fide NIMNUT: I hadn't checked your blogs. Will do so right away! I do follow a number, and I'm sure I will enjoy yours.

    We had frost ten days ago and all our Dahlias are now the cultivar "Crispy Black raisin"...groan.

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