A Good Blue Salvia
By L. McCombs (Calf)
favorite Salvia is one which I have never seen listed
in any catalog. It is Salvia uliginosa, a tall plant
with willowy stems to a height of four feet. Each branch
ends in a narrow plume of sky-blue which lengthens with
the season until it sometimes measures a foot or more
in length before the summer is gone. The spikes are
fresh-petaled every morning with innumerable blossoms
of typical salvia shape, the color of an early morning
sky. The foliage resembles that of the common Mint,
and in this locality is green all winter. Though its
wandlike stems sway languidly with every breeze it never
sprawls and it never needs staking. A plant of this
type is invaluable in the hardy border. It generously
furnished its own refills and the original spikes are
good for an entire summer.
rare Salvia is one of the few perennials robust enough
to hold its own in the wilder parts of the garden and
on the fringes of woodland where it makes a splendid
showing, which can still be used in the perennial border
as a perfect backdrop for choice plants without danger
to their safety. It is as shallow-rooted as Rehmannia.
whose color schemes include blue, as mine invariably
do, will find it an effective background for orange
Lantanas. It is good, too, with the flat heads of yellow
Achillea filipendulina. Because of its summer-long blooming
period it can figure in innumerable pleasant associations.
The lavender Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa) offers a contrast
in flower form and the colors, combined, are cool as
mint julep. Lythrum's wiry plumes of raw magenta blend
beautifully-it's a smooth combination, magenta and blue.
A Plumbago-covered wall is a perfect frame for magenta
Phloxes. Another Phlox, the dwarf B. Comte, and another
Plumbago, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, combine to make
a fine team for a low border in late summer. The more
B. Comte is pinched the later it blooms and the less
it sprawls. In my garden Blue Butterfly (Commelina nudiflora)
is allowed to seed around established clumps of the
Poppy Mallow (Calirrhoe involucrata). The shallow cups
of fiery magenta are a perfect foil for the big butterflies
of intense gentian blue. This is my favorite way to
use magenta-combined with pure blue it is never harsh.
It seems to mellow, to melt and fade into the depths
of its blue companion.