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Silver Sage ‘Jenks Farmer’

Salvia x ‘Jenks Farmer’ Photographed April 22. South Carolina. True culinary sage, Salvia officinalis, doesn’t love our humid climate. This is a great substitute; it makes a slivery bush 3 feet tall, and is covered with light blue flowers. This one has more flowers than true sage. Flowering Time: Late spring through May.

Special Care: Use this as an annual or short-lived perennial. Plant in dry, uncrowded conditions, and it will live a lot longer. But with years, it can get sprawly and inelegant. Keep it away from irrigation for best foliage. Thrives in heat, very tolerant of drought. Bees love it.

Foliage: The silvery leaves are mostly evergreen.

Gardening Tips: Great in masses mixed with spring bulbs or winter annuals. Let it be a filler, a flowery, airy Growth Rate: Fast enough to be used as an annual. mixer for lilies, holly-hocks or roses. You can easily root 4” stems in the ground, in late summer. Then plant those when you plant fall bulbs, pansies and Ultimate Height: 24 inches in flower. With age, it gets veggies. lanky and taller. About 24 inches wide, too. A Story: This plant was a gift to me from Linda Askey, to whom it was a gift from a lady in California. For lack of a better name, a Charleston nursery, gave it my name. Really, it should be Salvia ‘Little Old Lady from Pasadena.’

Suggested Combinations: Since it’s so drought tolerant, this is a great container plant. Let it fill in around the bare lower branches of small shrubs. Mix it into a pot with a spiller such as vinca.

Blue Salvia ‘Henry Duelburg’

Salvia ‘Henry Duelburg’ Photographed July 7. Moore Farms, South Carolina. With phlox, crinum, daylily.

Like the typical annual salvia called blue bedder, or Victoria sage, this adds blue to summer borders. Unlike those, it’s more open, more relaxed and a bit bigger. Flowering Time: This is a true performance plant with spikes of blue flowers from May until frost. Foliage: The dull green leaves blend into the background. It has no pest problems. Growth Rate: Fast enough to be used as an annual. Ultimate Height: 30 inches. 24 inches wide; larger after a few years.

Special Care: Late summer heat does slow it down. Flowers are more sparse, and it can get slightly lanky by July. Hence, a pruning to 10 or 12 inches in mid-summer will make it flush out fresh with more flowers for fall. This isn’t required though. Thrives in heat, very tolerant of drought. Bees love it. Gardening Tips: Great in masses. Also a fantastic filler as pictured above. Be aware that this will seed in the bed and may smother very small plants. Suggested Combinations: Try this with perennials that get tall and leggy. Let it fill in around the empty spots and cover their bare lower stems.

Salvia x 'Jenks Farmer'  

Hybrid Sage that flowers like crazy in April and May. Best of all, unlike regular sage, it thrives in humid summers.

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