Monday, May 9, 2011

Pineapple Sage

This pic (with the ultra fashionable gardener wearing her GreenHip trousers) was taken just a few weeks ago and shows my pineapple sage Salvia elegans also known as Salvia rutilans in my red garden. Last year it grew waist height as it has every year I have grown it and both the New Holland honeyeater and eastern spinebill love its flowers and are either constantly flitting about the bush or hanging upside down to feed. This year with all the rain we had it has grown to prodigious heights soaring over my head and being smothered in blooms.

However this plant (from the same division and only 3m away) which spent most of spring and into summer with wet feet is not nearly so tall. I thought it was going to die it looked so sick but eventually it got going and is now also in full bloom albeit on shorter stems.

Pineapple sage gets knocked around quite a lot during the winter frosts here but bounces back in spring. The smell of the crushed foliage is unmistakably that of pineapple and is reputed to be good for adding to a bowl of punch (does anyone make punch anymore?!)

This salvia comes from Mexico and is one of the last salvias to bloom before winter. It is vying with Salvia 'Anthony Parker' (a vigorous blue flowering sage) for attention although Salvia 'Hot Lips' (red and white flowers) is still going strong too.

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