Today I cannot help but write you a descriptive piece celebrating the painted sage, or Salvia viridis, that is flourishing in my garden, because it is simply lovely. I have two plants, one pink and one blue and their inky bracts add depth to the cacophany of colour that explodes in my garden throughout the summer. This arrangement is the result of my planting a rumpus of plants, with joyful abandon, over the last year or two. Bright, orange pot marigolds mingle with the softer, paler, creamy-yellow blooms of anthemis tinctoria, creating a mass of pretty daisies. The French lavender, that still continues to bloom even now in early November, looks magical; butterfly blooms basking in the morning light. Lady Bradshaw throws her cheerful, yellow, geum blooms into the mix. Waving them around on long, thin stems she can’t keep up this cheerleaders dance for long and her flowers begin to straggle; it’s a good thing the strappy irisis are there to prop her up. Delphiniums in blues, pinks and whites captivate for a moment but, now the summer party is over, it’s the painted sage that are left standing.
The blue salvia is flourishing and the top six inches look, for all the world, like they have been dipped in navy ink such is the intensity and saturation of the colour. The pink is not quite so rich in colour but nonetheless, it is still beautiful.
These two were left overs from a herb display I created at the Arley Hall flower show. I love doing that show! I have the best banter with the guys who build the stands because I change my mind on a whim when some new idea takes over. With much laughter and joking around we always get there in the end and I finish up with such happy memories and several sage plants!
These plants are my go to plants when I want to create an eye catching display full of colour so it makes perfect sense to have them in the garden. However these sages are not readily available at your local garden centres; they are the indie performers that rock my plant world.
Painted sages are hardy annuals which means they germinate, flower and die in a year. Fortunately they are easy to grow from seed each spring and will flourish in your garden from summer right the way through autumn.
How to grow salvia viridis
These hardy annuals can be sown in a cold frame or un heated greenhouse in August/September or February to April. Plant out when all danger of heavy frosts has passed.
Plant out in a sunny spot in well-drained soil 30 cms apart. These salvias reach a height of 45 cms and will flower from early summer well into autumn.
These sages grow well with both French and English lavender. My blue variety grows beside lavender stoechas ‘Blue Madrid’ and I love that the colour is picked up in both plants. Lime green plants such as euphorbia oblongata and nicotiana alata are also a fabulous combination.
The softer pink salvias also work well thrown into the mix with bright greens and inky blues. For a subtler effect grow them amongst the tiny white Pom-Pom flowers of gypsophila elegans.
Yes! Bees love salvia viridis!