Salvias in garden design?

dyhgarden(7b)November 5, 2008

I realize that most folks here are collectors, and I often wonder how you use your salivas in your gardens. Do you have photos of the combinations that you use? Would you share?

Since salvias are deer-resistant and I have a full sun garden, they are the perfect plant for me to use. I'm just getting started!

Here is my favorite combo using salvia greggii 'Dark Dancer'. This section of my garden is only 1 year old, but I transplanted the salvias from 2 years ago to this location. I added another one this summer.

pink muhly for fall color

echinacea 'Ruby Star' for summer color

spirea 'Neon Flash' for spring color

buddleia 'Adonis Blue' for blooms off/on

crape myrtle 'White Chocolate' for burgundy foliage

Photos taken last week:

Please share your favorite combinations.



Chapel Hill, NC

Here is a link that might be useful: salvias

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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

This combo doesn't have Salvia in it, but had a wonderful texture:

Smoke tree in the background.
Lobelia (blue) in the midground:
Santolina in the foreground.

I saw this at Western Hills Rare Plant Nursery a long time ago (mid 80s), and it was stunning. A lot of blue Salvias would work instead of the Lobelia.

I like using Zephyrantes (rain lilies) and other bulbs. Woody lilies (Nolina, Agave, Dasylirion) works well with sages, especially with the desert ones.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 10:40AM
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Particularly fetching for me this year was a white flowered Zinnia augustifolia (species name has changed). It turns out a blizzard of small white daisies and only grows to about a foot tall and is easy to grow in large numbers. It was used at the feet of Mulberry Jam and among a patch of X Scarlet Spires and other places. It always makes the salvia flowers stand out.

The tall semi-double Zinnias and Cactus-flowered Zinnias work well with larger sages like macrophylla, guaranitica, subrotunda, and coccinea.

For a few years I've loved the combination of purple New England Aster, a single flowered pale pink mum called Sheffield Pink, and Salvia X Waverly.

In the pot garden I like to mix in the nearly black-leafed Elephant Ear called Illustrus. The display seems to benefit from something with large leaves.

To knit together the hedge of greggii and microphylla gold flowered Tropical Milkweed works well. Various Agastaches are also used for a change in flower type and because they like the same conditions. Next year the row will I hope include a yellow-flower blanket flower, which is one of the few deer-proof daisies that likes it lean.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 12:26PM
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Rich -- I have my blue salvia uliginosa with my smoke tree. The blue looks good with the dark foliage of the smoke tree. I planted the bog sage lower to help retain moisture. My bog sage blooms non-stop. Every evening, I would think that it needed deadheading and then every morning, it was totally blue/white again. It's the only plant that I've ever seen where it seemed the blooms rejuvenate. I started with one plant in 2007...and the rest is history...I have a large garden, so I have put it all over the place.

Wardda--you have a lot of wonderful combinations! I'm going with more gaillardia, too. I already have red milkweed with my red greggii. I divided some gaillardia this fall to put around it. Crocosmia 'lucifer' and pineapple sage are also with that red greggii (on one side)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 12:46PM
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Have a look at Betsy Clebsch's book, she has many great suggestions for what will combine nicely with Salvias. One I have used is Salvia 'Indigo Spires' with Gaura lindheimeri in front.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 12:59PM
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The Area's that are not in use for Hybridizing.
Shade area I grow S. miniata,coccinea "Coral Nymph",
regla "Jame form"and lyrata( Spp not Purple Knockout)
mixed with
Aquilegia chrysantha,Dietes bicolor,Acanthus mollis
Pseuderanthamum alatum ,Sisyrinchium angustifolium and Justicia "Fruit Cocktail". Sunny locations I have a Hemerocallis collection numbering about 300 cultivars.
I mix with Salvia's ,Dianthus,Dalea greggii,Zinnia grandiflora,Anisacanthus quadrifidus"Simpsons gold"
Dalea frutescens,Orbexilum pedunculatum,Origanum dictamus,
Hippastrum x johnsonii,Asclepias curassavica "Silky Gold",
penstemon tenuis,melampodium leucanthum,Zephranthes
"Prairie Sunset" and more.I do think Salvias should be
used in more public areas with ornamental grasses,shrubs
perennials .We have S.greggii,microphylla,leucantha,
farenacea, x IndigoSpires,and coccinea planted in some commercial landscapes here in Austin.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 9:17PM
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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

Some of my favorite combinations in the fall are Salvia regla 'Jame' with white Camellia 'Snow Flurry', S. blepharophylla with seedlings of Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea', S. greggii 'Flame' and Yucca 'Color Guard', S. miniata with variegated Duranta and Cordyline terminalis, and S. greggii 'Lipstick' with single apricot Chrysanthemum. I also like the bold leaves of the colocasias with salvias, though you have to be careful about matching up cultural preferences or else keep them in pots. I've been very pleased with the combination of S. puberala and Colocasia 'Black Magic', Justicia spicigara and summer wave blue torenia.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 10:29AM
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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

There's one more great combination in bloom now -- can't believe I forgot it -- Salvia van houtteii with white Phlox 'David' and Hakonechloa 'All Gold'. There's also some Spiranthes 'Chadds Ford' for additional white when the phlox takes a break. I originally intended the salvia to be temporary as a new shrub fills in but after enjoying it since mid-summer (and still going strong), I'm going to have to repeat this next year.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 11:00AM
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Salvia chiapensis enjoys the same light shade as the lime green Nicotiana langsdorfii, and the cerise and lime colors are eye-opening.

(another frequent visitor to Western Hills in the '80s...)


    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 3:01PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

For those who like a primary unsophisticated color combination (for the child in us) would like s. Chiquita and soldago nemerous or any other sodago. I also have it near the s. regla (that catches a vertical shaft of autumn setting sun, WOWZA) and mexican bush sage. The silver artimisia is not far away as a reminder that not all colors are so vibrant but beautiful in their own regard. I also have a primary well timed spring scenario between my Ajuga repins, yellow culumbine and cedar sage under the shade of a large mountain ash cedar tree. One feels like someone got their set of crayons out to color it in.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 12:58PM
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One of the successful salvia design principles I've seen put to good use in CA is to stay inside the Lamiaceae family and mass plantings of agastaches, stachys, monarda, perovskia, plectranthus and germanders with the sages. Culinary herbs, such as basil, mint, rosemary, savory, marjoram, oregano and thyme all fall into this group and many of those are good annuals or short-term fill-ins for places where a sage has died back (a frequent occurance for me). Other good cround covers are ajuga, melissa, and nepeta.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 3:50PM
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These different combinations are really interesting, especially across different zones.

Dicot -- I have most of what you describe because the Lamiaceae family is generally deer (and rabbit) resistant.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 10:56PM
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Dry land herbs work great with the greggii and microphylla sages since they like the same conditions. Mixing in some Lavender is always nice since they tend to thrive. I like to use the hummingbird Agastaches too. The flowers of cana and Tutti Frutti go well with greggii X Raspberry Delight and microphylla San Carlos Festival. Cana is really hardy here in South Jersey and so is the orange aurantiaca. Both have lots of fresh growth at the base now and seem to be toughening up well for winter. Tutti Frutti rarely survives our winters unless planted in the driest conditions.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 8:57PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

My all-time favorite combo is s. leucantha with tagetes lemmonii in a long border. With this as the core structure, many various other plants can be woven in to play amongst the strong purple and golden yellow contrasts. It's stunning and tough and quite drought tolerant.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 9:55PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

In a new spot this year, I've also used the tagetes lemmonii with s. Anthony Parker. They're about the same height and visual bulk, but the combination doesn't have the same rich coloring as the s.leucantha 'Midnight" with the tagetes.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 4:28PM
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Sounds like a nice Combination. I will combine S.x "Indigospires" with Lantana x "New Gold",Two sterile
hybrids that make a real display for quite a while.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 8:34PM
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