Regular visitors to this blog may have noticed that I am particularly fond of purple flowers, and also rather a fan of salvias.
Allow me then to introduce you to Salvia ‘Kate Glen’, a perennial salvia with dark stems, striking flowers that turn from pink to deep purple, and scented leaves, exclusively available from Unwins Seeds.
While I choose to maintain these pages as a personal record of our garden, generally declining commercial offers, I was intrigued by this new cultivar, and earlier this summer agreed to review a trio of plants.
The plants arrived promptly, in robust packaging as used by many of the large seed and plant companies. Potted up immediately on their arrival by King of the Hill in my own absence, they showed themselves to be three neat, healthy plants, in good condition.
After a few weeks in 9cm pots, I planted them out into the borders. One, as seen further up this post, I placed along the front of our most freely draining border – albeit still rather heavy clay that we are slowly improving with organic matter and grit. Another I placed a little further back, behind my seed-raised Geranium palustre and a Stipa tenuissima. Slightly nervous after losing some of my own recent seedlings to the night-munchers, I also placed a copper slug ring around this plant, to try and ensure the survival of at least one, lest my review be rather curtailed!
The first plant, depicted above, receives the most sun of the three at the front of this south-facing border; with its close neighbour just out of shot to the left only a little more shaded by other surrounding plants. The third plant I added nearer to the house, where it is plunged into shadow by mid-afternoon at this time of year as the sun passes around the house towards the west.
Buds formed quickly on all three plants, opening into flower over the past week. As expected for a sun-loving plant, the flowers on the one at the front of the sunniest part were the first to appear, followed in a day or two by those of its near neighbour, with the flowers just beginning to open this week on the third plant, seen here in front of a young Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Madame Emile Mouillere‘.
While these are still mere fledglings, they already make an impact in the borders and my first impressions are favourable; good stature, attractive stems, and foliage, and flowers in pleasing deep colours. While Salvia microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’ has formed a strong shrub over several years, and the lower-growing Salvia napifolia (whose paler lavender flowers can be seen a few pictures previously, just to the left of the more intense purple flowers of Kate Glen) have overwintered here for a similar length of time, Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ and Salvia ‘Amistad’ have proven more fickle, with neither surviving through their first winter. It will be interesting to see how these new arrivals compare in the face of the winter ahead – I may be tempted to overwinter one of them in our unheated greenhouse in case I should lose any to winter wet or frost. Do watch this space, as I shall provide further updates towards the end of the season and in the spring.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a trio of plants as mentioned above for free, for review purposes. Regardless, all opinions expressed here are my own unbiased thoughts.