Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Salvia azurea 'Grandiflora'

           Salvia azurea 'Grandiflora'
This is in flower now and has graceful tall stems up to a metre in height, clasped with tiny linear leaves and topped with pale lavender blue flowers.
It is a true herbaceous perennial from the American prairies and not your typical shrubby Salvia from say Mexico or South Africa.The prairie type plants often have a deep root system which go off in search of water during dry spells and give it the ability to survive the ground freezing over winter. It also makes for a sturdy plant with stems that stay upright during windy conditions.
This Salvia usually never makes it into the commercial nursery scene but remains readily available from mail order specialists.
From my experience of growing a batch in pots its appearance during spring was typical of many herbaceous plants, awakening after winter by presenting tiny neat shoots followed by a few straggly stems. By the time the weather had warmed up the root system had outgrown the pots and the advancing upright stems were crying out for water and wilting rapidly when not getting enough. Fortunately it did sell well before many had got to that stage to some gardeners or landscapers in the know about this easy care hardy perennial.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Frank Aland'

          Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Frank Aland'
First time in flower for me and it is certainly a very bright vermillion. The flower size is average and the recurving petals give it a slightly ruffled appearance.
It has been around for awhile,1982 when registered, having been bred by Jim Howie from John Massie x Nathan Charles.
At this stage I have no other information on it growth habits. 

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Mystic Hue'

          Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Mystic Hue' 
I have been growing this Hibiscus for a couple of years now and am very impressed with both the flower colour and the compact growth habit. How to describe the colour?..probably lavender blue with pink margins though this will vary depending on time of day or month.
For example the first photo appears more pink and was taken early one morning.
It is a small flowered Australian variety bred by Allan McMullen from 'Elena Mia' x 'Blue Toy'.
I hope to be able to propagate from this one when it gets a little larger. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

             Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'
This is said to be a smaller growing cultivar of the species which I have written about before as being a bit of a garden thug spreading far and wide with a thick tuberous root system.
I am keeping it in a large pot where it can be more easily managed. That said it would make a great addition to a garden position in the light shade of trees where shrubs may be difficult to establish as it is not fussed as to soil and water requirements. 

Salvia 'Amistad', The Friendship Sage

                                  Salvia 'Amistad'
This is a very dark purple Salvia which I planted last year in front of a giant orange sun loving Bromeliad Aechmea blanchetiana. I am hoping for a good colour contrast when 'Amistad reaches the 2 metres it is said to. So far it is a well behaved small shrub with bright green foliage and masses of flowers. No damage to the branches from nectar feeding birds either.
The story goes that this plant was found in a market in Argentina and released to the garden scene in Australia in 2013. Plant Breeders Rights apply to this plant.

Salvia 'Black Knight'

     Salvia 'Black Knight' above Salvia leucantha
This Salvia is thought to be a hybrid of S. guaranitica x S. gesneriiflora and has been on the garden scene for a number of years.
It forms a scruffy shrub to just under two metres high with flowers so dark you have to be up close to really notice them. From a distance they appear as a dark smudge above pale green foliage. That said it is a hardy shrub which requires no special attention to do well. Perhaps with some judicious pruning in spring a well shaped shrub could be achieved.
The birds love it !

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Abelia x grandiflora

                   Abelia x grandiflora
 Abelia has come to my notice because it is flowering so late this year. Normally it is covered in sweetly scented flowers at the end of January but this year it waited for some good soaking rain to perform at its best, though the rain has diminished the scent somewhat. I really like Abelia because it behaves as a near perfect shrub. Undemanding as to growing conditions it eventually forms a naturally rounded shaped bush to 2 metres, despite an infancy of throwing out lax and arching branches. Lightly pruned specimens may resemble a shaggy plum pudding with the bunches of flowers loosely covering the end of stems. 
I leave mine unpruned and growing up close to some big Yuccas which are noted for their extensive hungry root system. Abelia is not fazed by this competition. There are some interesting forms of this shrub such as the dwarf 'Nana', one with variegated foliage and a burnished leaf one called 'Keat's Gold'.