Wednesday, May 21, 2014

salvia daghestanica: luminous

I thought that Crocus speciosus had the monopoly on luminosity, those fall globes glowing as if they were filled with their own light. But when I saw the Salvia daghestanica in the late afternoon light, I realized that Crocus speciosus had some serious competition.

High Country Gardens calls Salvia daghestanica  "Dwarf Silver-leaf Sage," which is as good a nickname as any, I suppose, but I suspect that it is a made-up name for marketing. HCG used to say that when David Salman first saw this, he caught his breath and stopped in amazement, or something like that. I assumed that it was a bunch of silliness created for the catalog, but recently, with mine blooming, I can see that happening.

The Silver Dog (or Dagh), as I call it, blooms once in the spring and doesn't rebloom but the silver leaves that look like silvery oak-leafed lettuce remain throughout the rest of summer, turning brown as the plant goes dormant in the fall. The tips of the flower stems produce leaves which turn into  plantlets, although I have failed to get those plantlets to root. I will try again this year.

The plants also root at the base of the spreading stems, so it might be possible to divide the plants, but I would instead pry up a rooted stem from the outer edges, since I would be afraid that the deep rooted plant might die if dug up and divided which would cut off those deep roots that sustain the plant, and watering extra might cause the plant to rot. I might be wrong about that, but in my old garden, established plants didn't need watering at all, and young plants needed careful watering to establish. Hmm, the Silver Dog blooms in the spring, and Crocus speciosus blooms in the fall. Sounds like it might be a good combination.

1 comment:

  1. Stunning plants, and I agree - how that was "silliness created for the catalog" and the way it looks in bloom, especially in the early summer (meteorological) light. No supplemental irrigation in the Abq foothills, too? Wow.

    Then again, I just rode by huge, happy Agastache rupestris (or cv's) and even seeing those is still cool.