Kate Glen

Regular visitors to this blog may have noticed that I am particularly fond of purple flowers, and also rather a fan of salvias.

Salvia 'Kate Glen' flower stem

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.

Salvia Kate Glen in the border

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.

Plant packagingThe 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.

Newly arrived plants of Salvia Kate Glen

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.

Salvia 'Kate Glen'

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‘.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Madame Emile Mouillere' and Salvia 'Kate Glen'

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.


9 thoughts on “Kate Glen

  1. The colour of Kate Glen is gorgeous! It looks great with the grass too – they both like similar conditions, so the salvia might survive the winter in this spot?

    • That’s what I’m hoping! This is the spot where we’ve added the most grit, and it gets the most sun. The grasses have overwintered for four or five years now, so fingers crossed…

  2. ‘Kate Glen’ is a most striking colour as is the dierama in your last post. I wonder if she will continue to be available exclusively from Unwins. I’m making a note of the name. My salvia ‘Armistad’ cuttings came through the winter in a cold greenhouse. They thrived in early spring but have not been happy since 😦 Maybe the cool summer has not suited them. It will be time to take cuttings again before long! Hope that you have better luck with ‘Kate’.

    • I may have ‘accidentally’ purchased two more Amistad plants today, after finding them very cheap in our greengrocers! 🙂 Will be taking cuttings left, right and centre shortly, and keep my fingers crossed!

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