Friday, June 27, 2014

My favorite plant in the garden (this week) is.....Salvia 'Amistad'

Sometimes it's easy to pick a favorite and sometimes not.   Choosing my favorite color for some reason has always been pretty easy.  While I like all the colors my favorite has been purple for as long as I can remember.  That's why I took notice when Salvia 'Amistad' began appearing in gardening blogs and online gardening articles about two years ago.  It's also why I chose it for my favorite plant this week and am joining Loree at Danger Garden in posting on my favorite plant... this week.


Purple is easy to find in bulbs like tulips and iris but not so easy in flowers that will bloom all summer in a hot climate like San Antonio.  Salvia 'Amistad' is a very deep purple similar to those dark tulips I like and I wanted it for my garden as soon as I saw it.  Last summer that was not to be but on a recent gardening field trip to Dripping Springs I spotted it at Vivero Growers and knew I had to buy it right then and there.  Vivero always has great plants in top condition, just look at this beauty all ready to plant!


You can follow Vivero at their excellent blog here or on Facebook.

Hummingbirds love it and fight over it just like the feeder.  I even saw a bee trying to crawl deep into those flowers.


As if all that purple-y goodness wasn't enough the flowers have a deep black calyx for emphasis.


It's no surprise that it is a Salvia guaranitica as are two of my other favorites in the garden--Salvia Mexicana and Salvia 'Black and Blue'.  It even has a touch of that typical lime green foliage which sets off the flowers just right.  Like the other Salvia guaraniticas in my garden, the deer haven't bothered it and it is cold hardy to about 18F which is pretty good although we have seen colder here recently.


You can join in and find out what other garden bloggers are choosing as their favorite plant by checking out Danger Garden.  I like the idea of choosing a favorite a week, that way I can always change my mind and pick a new favorite....next week.

29 comments:

  1. Wow, that is a beauty. That black calyx really does set the bloom off well. I'm also always saying, "My favorite plant...." so I understand that. It looks great with the American germander in the background.

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    1. They do work well together and the 'Strawberry Fields' gomphrena just showed up to join the party so I left it as a punctuation mark.

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  2. I've admired that Salvia since it popped up on the blogs of folks in the PNW last year but I've yet to find it locally, although both S. 'Black & Blue' and S. Mexicana are relatively easy to find. I'll be interested to hear how 'Amistad' stands up to your heat - if it does well, maybe I'll break down an mail order one (or more).

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    1. I will report on S. Amistad in August. Because I trust the source I'm pretty sure it can take our heat. At Vivero it is planted in a container in full sun and mine will get increasing afternoon shade as we approach our hottest days so we should be fine. I noticed Plant Delights has it for mail order or you might try making a request at your favorite nursery.

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  3. Yes, it is beautiful! All the Salvias are fabulous for so many reasons. And they seem to have wide ranges for hardiness. Great shot of the hummingbird on the Salvia! That's hard to capture!

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    1. As a group my garden would be nearly empty without all the salvias! Since the hummers love this salvia it's a bit easier to catch them on the plant than some other places in the garden.

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  4. Such a beautiful shade of purple, overall a lovely plant well worth highlighting!

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    1. It's a great color and not easy to find in a flower.

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  5. Great plant and great pictures ,as usual, Shirley. Thanks for the effort.

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

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  6. What a lovely deep purple. Hummingbirds have such good taste! I'm certainly going to watch out for this one here in Austin (Tina - I'll let you know if you let me know..!). Shirley -just checking - did you just plant this or has it been in your beds since earlier in the season? I'll grab one if I see it immediately if you are saying these can be planted even in summer's heat. Otherwise, back on the Fall buy/plant list it goes!

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    1. It was planted last weekend and I don't go by the calendar so much as the weather. Since it has been cloudy with rain predicted most days I don't hesitate to take advantage of the cooler weather to add new plants and transplant a few things. With extra care I'll even plant in the heat of July or August if it's a plant I'm looking for.

      Vivero Growers is on 290 in South Austin and they had quite a few of these in stock last week.

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    2. Awesome, thanks! I'm betting they won't last long (before being bought out at the nursery I mean). I occasionally plant "late" though I know conventional wisdom says to leave everything alone until cooler weather returns.

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    1. It would be a good addition to your purple garden!

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  8. Oh Shirley I remember seeing that plant for the first time last summer during the Fling (our stop at Sunset Headquarters). Everyone else seemed to be in serious instant plant lust, I stood there looking at it for the longest time trying to understand the appeal. It's grown on me since, and your 2nd photo shows it wonderfully, but I think I'll be leaving this one for others to enjoy!

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    1. I can see that because big flowering sages are not the plant for your more structured garden. Those difference make blogging and touring gardens so much fun.

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  9. I'm a big fan of purple too, and especially combined with red, as you have here.

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    1. After seeing the photos I'm glad I decided to leave the red gomphrena in place.

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  10. This is a gorgeous salvia! I was one of those who fell in instant plant lust at the fling. Mine didn't make it through our wet winter last year. I'll bet this is perfect for your climate.

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    1. I'm disappointed to hear that. After Loree's comment I went back to the Fling posts and found your glowing report on the plant. It should do well and wet winters are not much of a problem here.

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  11. Shirley that is one beautiful purple. I really love the contrasting deep almost black, and you have planted it perfectly!!

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    1. It's planted where I can watch the hummingbirds from the porch.

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  12. The salvia is a nice contrast to the white germander flowers. I have not seen that particular variety on the market up here yet. I will be watching to see how it does in your garden, although the climates are a little different.

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    1. The climates are quite a bit different, we are more tropical. Plant Delights is growing it in colder NC so I think it would work up there. If we get another winter like the last one that would be a test.

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  13. I like this one.
    The bloom looks a lot like the 'Black and Blue' salvia.

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    1. They are closely related and I like Black and Blue so it was an easy choice.

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  14. You got a great shot of the hummingbird on it!!!! I am so glad you like it- it is such a great plant. I love it when the plants go to good homes. <3 It will surely be happy at your house. It looks beautiful with the Gomphrena.

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    1. That is so sweet, "good homes" made me smile. The votes are in and the red Gomphrena is staying right where it seeded itself.

      I'll try to get a shot of it at Melody's garden for you, that's another good home for plants!

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