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It’s 90 in the shade and I guess that means I should feel fortunate. Yesterday at this time it was 96.
In the front beds over-sexed Japanese Beatles are mobbing the rose blooms. The hollyhocks have a terrible orange disease called rust–I will hack them down tonight.
But no worries.
My garden is still pretty–rich with tried and true heat lovers– annuals like cleome, penta, melampodium and two perennials no southern garden should be without–Canna and Salvia. As the temperature climbs, I love these two plants more and more. Here’s why:
Salvias don’t just take the heat–they dig it. Many of my favorite salvias don’t really coming into their glory until our “second season” –late August into fall.
If you ever see Salvia Van Houttei blooming at my house in September, you will carry it over all winter in your dinning room like I do. This is a splendid plant! There’s a wonderful garnet red that goes well with cool colors and lovely orange that looks splendid next to my most favorite of all salvias–the one I call Richard Faun.
Richard gave me this wonderful plant decades ago and since then my friend Susan and I have passed it on to almost everyone we know. It blooms all summer. It blooms all fall too. It comes back every year and multiplies well. There’s always plenty to give away but it’s never a pest. The hummingbirds love it. The blue is stunning. And the flowers look good in a vase.
I think the proper name is Salvia guaranitica (Giant Blue Sage) but Susan and I like to call it Richard’s Blue Salvia. It reminds us of the very talented and generous gardener who gave us many of our first plants and early advice.
Nice that gardens can go on even after the gardener passes away. Hats off to Richard. Spreading a beautiful, blue, trouble-free plant is a pretty good way to be remembered.
There are hundreds of Salvia varieties and Big Bloomers in Sanford (my favorite perennial nursery) has more than any place I know. I often take a July trip with my little sis to set our gardens up for fall. It’s well worth the effort and the 20 or 30 dollars. A few happy salvias call fill a lot of hollyhock holes.
The second plant you should grow is Canna. The big leaves are stunning, lush and colorful. And these plants never wilt. No lie. I have gardened through two of the worst droughts in NC history without a dead or wilted canna in sight.
Ok–cannas do have flowers but I confess I cut them off. For me flowers spoil the effect of lovely back-lit leaves– A perfect foil for my other flowers.
They can get leaf rollers. Be sure to clean up good and you’re home free.
My two favorite cannas are Bengal Tiger and Chocolate Cherry. They make everything around them look great.
Any other tried and true heat lovers out there? Will trade some of Richard’s Blue Salvia for what’s looking good at your house. (In the fall of course, this is no time to be digging things up. Too hot-not enouigh rain and my little castle doesn’t have a staff. Stay cool.