Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sensational Salvias… Simply Stunning!

If you have been reading my article for any amount of time, you know I enjoy High County Gardens offerings.
I love the displays of color on the website and catalog.  If you did not see the latest one with images by my friends Scott and  Laura Springer Ogden.  To say as a gardener their work inspires me would be an understatement.  I love the natural meadow look of the lush plantings and grasses.  I hope to add to my butterfly garden hill with these plants and have that “look” in my own garden.
High Country Gardens is a company owned by David Salmon of New Mexico.  I have been a customer for many years and his plants are a “Christmas Wish list Catalog” to me.  Please check out the digital catalog here.
You can read about David and his wife Ava here….  I find there story quite interesting.  I missed a chance to meet David recently, I hope to see him at a gardening event some day, I know he enjoys lecturing. 
I will be placing most of the new plants in my butterfly hill area.  I have expanded it last fall and these will be the perfect touch…. okay… burst of color!  It is full sun with good drainage and plenty of rocks…. prefect for these types of plants.
These photos are from last June….. so hopefully by this June you will see a bunch more pink!  Here are the new ones I will be growing this year…. all photos and information from High Country Gardens.
Salvia – Raspberry Delight
3’ x 3’ wide (cutting propagated) During the spring and summer of 1998, I spent a lot of time evaluating a very large group of Salvia plants grown from seed I had collected the previous year. Finally, I spotted a single plant that stood out head and shoulders above all the rest; ‘Raspberry Delight’® had been found! This stunning ever-blooming hybrid has a profusion of deeply-colored, raspberry-red flowers held well above its long, arching branches. The foliage is deep green and has a sweet herbal fragrance when brushed. Garden trials have shown it to be a fast, vigorous grower with excellent heat tolerance and cold hardiness.
Zones 6-10.
Salvia greggii 'Wild Thing'
24-39” x 3’ wide, (cutting propagated). This outstanding new cultivar was originally a wild-collected plant from its native habitat in west TX, the plant found its way into a garden in St. Louis, MO, where it grew beautifully for many, many years. Plantsman Tom Peace gave me a few plants to add to my NM gardens. “Wild Thing” was an instant favorite with myself and the hummingbirds. It is a very vigorous, fast growing plant with stunning coral pink flowers. Its ability to survive the cold, damp winters of the Midwest is a real plus, as it extends the usefulness of a Southwestern native plant to much of the U.S.
Zones (5?)6-10.
Salvia pachyphylla - Giant Flowered Purple Sage
3’ x 30” wide (seed/cutting propagated). 2005 Plant Select Winner. This gorgeous CA-native plant is a new to cultivation, thanks to CO seedsman Alan Bradshaw, who supplied me with my original seeds. You’ll love it for its beauty and tough-as-nails garden performance.
Best in well-drained, sandy-loam or clay-loam soils and full, hot sun. Giant Flowered Purple Sage blooms all summer and has evergreen, silver foliage that gives the plant year-round interest. Prune back and shape in the fall after the flowers are finished. The leaves are pungently fragrant and browse-resistant.
Zones 5-9.
Salvia pachyphylla 'Blue Flame' PPAF - Blue Flame Giant Purple Sage
24” x 24-30” wide, (cutting propagated). Turn up the heat in your xeriscape with this exclusive High Country Gardens introduction. ‘Blue Flame’ is a selection of the xeric sub-shrub Giant Purple Sage, chosen for its huge, brightly colored 10”+ long flowering spikes. Like a gas flame, the long tubular blue flowers poke through the rose-pink bracts attracting hummingbirds from the entire neighborhood.
To help support the huge flower spikes, it’s helpful to pinch back the tips of the new shoots in mid-spring to thicken up the plant. This beauty likes full sun, good air circulation and fast draining soil conditions.
Zones 5-9.
Agastache cana - Texas Hummingbird Mint
24-36” x 18” wide, (seed propagated). Texas Hummingbird Mint is a hands down favorite for everyone who sees it in our garden here. Tubular, raspberry pink flowers are prolific and continue from late summer on through fall. Agastache cana does well in average garden conditions, mixing well with other late blooming perennials such as Solidago ‘Golden Fleece’ that also enjoy well drained soils.
Zones 5-9.
Here is ‘Cana’ with Russian Sage… I have this plant already.  I hope to do this combination… it is stunning.
Agastache cana 'Rosita' - Rosita Hummingbird Mint
24” x 30”wide, (cutting propagated). An exciting new form of Agastache cana that appeared as a single outstanding plant in a group of garden plants grown from habitat collected seed. ‘Rosita’ has been the subject of much comment in our Santa Fe display gardens because of its profusion of dense, deep rose-pink flower spikes and extremely bushy semi-dwarf growth habit. Earlier blooming than regular Agastache cana plants, ‘Rosita’s’ spikes have about 50% more flowers per spike than is normal; the effect is striking and noticeable from a great distance. Plant in well-drained garden soils, and water deeply but infrequently once established.
Zones 5-10.
If you grow these or have any tips, let me know…. I certainly look forward to this season to enjoy them.  Hopefully I may have given you an idea or two for something new for your plantings.
Happy Gardening….Brooke
Thanks to High Country Gardens for use of the images and information.  This is not a paid advertisement, I enjoy the plants and wanted to write about them on my site.


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  1. I enjoy plants from HCG too. I was able to visit their nursery in Sante Fe one year while we were vacationing in New Mexico. I've got my order in! This year, I'm getting western gold mix butterfly weed, burgandy blanket flower, jupiter's beard (red valarian) and jumbo snow in summer. I have a lot of their offerings in my garden already.

  2. Wow Brooke---I love them all. I will get on over to HCG and check it out before they get gone. Thank you!

  3. Brooke HCG is one if the best by far..I too love their salvias, agastache, actually you name it...I try to push the envelope with zone 5b or 6 if I really want something but their zone 5 plants do fine here in the NE...I loved visiting their greenhouses in Santa Fe when I go to visit a friend of mine and I frequently get her gift certificates...brought back a gorgeous pot last year...been cutting back on orders but need to check out their new plants...always try to add a few.

  4. I also have purchased many plants from HCG, but one word of advice: if they say it needs good drainage (or prefers drier climates, designated with the little cowboy hat icon in their catalog), believe them! Don't plant in clay-based soil and expect the plant to survive the winter.

    Agastache is one of my favorites, not only for the color they add with their blooms, but for their wonderfully fragrant foliage. =)

  5. Wow I never seen so many lovely Salvias! I grew about 10-15 varieties last summer and I wonder how many are alive under all the snow. Your Salvia pachyphylla 'Blue Flame' PPAF - Blue Flame Giant Purple Sage are really stunning!

    I wish you a great weekend! / Tyra

  6. Beautiful gardens. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be with those new plants.

  7. I never knew there was so much variation in salvias. Your garden is already gorgeous and I can't wait to see it this year with your new plantings.


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