Salvia Weekend, 20th and 21st August 2011
Following the success of our dahlia weekend in 2010, Lullingstone hosted a salvia weekend on 20th and 21st August.
Tom gave guided tours of the World Garden to talk about the huge range of salvias that exist around the world.
"They are superb flowerers, especially the American hybrids, and are particularly great for late flowering colour in the garden. Salvia hot lips is probably the most talked about and popular of the salvias. It’s definitely one of my favourites. One year at Hampton Court they completely sold out”.
A salvia enthusiast, Janet Buist, was on hand afterwards to give expert advice. Cambridge-based, Buist supplies Lullingstone’s World Garden nursery with a wide range of plants. Janet says,
"It is the flower power and the sheer range of the salvias that make them such garden-worthy plants".
Salvia expert Robin Middleton also attended the event and gave Tom a couple of tips on salvia root systems.
Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’
It was only introduced in 2004 to the UK. This 'Sage' or in Latin, 'Salvia' (the same thing!) has quite a fairytale beginning. An American, a keen plantsman called Richard Turner, threw a humongous house warming party in Mexico, for which his stunning Mexican Maid called Altagracia provided the flower arrangements. Altagracia included in one of her displays a certain Salvia from Oaxaca in Mexico, which none of Turner's horticultural buddies had ever seen before. And the rest as they say is horticultural history.
Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ is hardy here at Lullingstone in a sunny site with good drainage. And despite the cold winter of 2010/2011, when ‘Hot Lips’ was cut to the ground at -15C, it has vigorously grown back from the base and as with most Salvias is easy to grow from cuttings. It’s such a curious plant with its white and red bicoloured flowers that can sometimes only be white or red. In fact you can have only white, only red or bicoloured flowers on the same stem! I would recommend pruning pretty hard at the end of April each year as it can get pretty large.
In the World Garden there are a huge range of Salvias ranging from British Natives, to the Orchid Like Salvia sclarea from the Middle East to the dazzlingly colourful North & South American Varieties.