Fashion extra Posted on January 1, 2007

Will Salvia uliginosa be the next Verbena bonariensis? I hope so. V.b. is the lanky but resolutely upright plant with purple tiny  flowers that has filled fashionable gardens in the past three or four years. Seedlings take until late summer to flower, but gardeners, even gardeners with thousands of visitors and doubtless strict planting plans, can’t resist letting it spread. Wisley, the Savill Garden, the rose garden at Mottisfont – it’s everywhere.

And this salvia? Another lanky self–sower, with an even later season but with flowers of a unique sky blue. They are tiny too, in litle panicles at the end of many branches, but wave high above the border, here among pink Japanese anemones, white cosmos, pale  pink roses (and of course V.b.), in just the sort of nursery colour combination that made Christopher Lloyd so indignant.

Uliginosa means from boggy ground. Compared with some heat-seeking salvias, may be, but droughty summers here have only encouraged it. It comes up everywhere, especially in the brick path. Just like Veebee, but brighter, later, prettier and so far more special.

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