Saturday, 23 July 2016

Salvia Kate Glen

I was approached by Unwins early in 2015 offering me a chance to trial and review one of their exclusive herbaceous perennials.  The plant in question was Salvia Kate Glen. Initially I was a bit hesitant. I have not had a great deal of success growing Salvias in my garden. Very few, in fact only one single Salvia has ever successfully made it through winter in the ground and come through the other side as a strong and healthy specimen worthy enough off keeping it going.  After checking out the blurb on this particular Salvia on Unwin's Website my mind was made up since they list it as frost hardy. 

Salvia Kate Glen
picture courtesy of Unwins

Here's what Unwins say about Salvia Kate Glen.
This new ornamental sage is real showstopper. The pink flowers are held on 45cm (17in) tall, dense spikes that will bloom all summer long, gradually deepening to a glowing violet, providing an ever changing display of colour for your garden. They’re perfect for a sunny position in a border or container where the heat of the sun will intensify the already heavily scented foliage.

Salvia ‘Kate Glen’ is exclusive to Unwins. It’s drought tolerant and frost hardy so is perfect for a garden in full sun with free draining soil. As well as the colour changing flowers it also has deliciously scented foliage. Height 90cm (36in) Spread 60cm (24in).

There was an initial delay with their dispatching of these particular plants.  They reached me at the end of July.  The plugs I received were incredibly healthy and even though the plugs were small they were exactly as I had expected.  I had no surprise in the size department.  Too small to go directly in the ground.  They were potted up into 9cm pots. 

Healthy plugs received end of July 2016
Potted up ready for some tlc

Fast forward 2 months (end of September) and although we had not experienced a great summer they had made good progress and were now sizeable enough to do into the ground.  Healthy strong root growth, always a promising sight.  

Root growth end of September 2015

I had a new rose (R. Darcy Bussell) in need of planting out too.  I had already extended part of the summer border to receive the Rose and Salvia.  I remember reading that Roses and Salvia make perfect planting partners, although I can't quite remember where nor the theory behind it all.           

The winter, as many of you will recall, got off to a pretty wet start and for a few days the young Salvia plants found themselves victim off excess water.  The ground here had never flooded before but this year it did.  Just my kind of luck!  I worried about their survival for a bit and even contemplated lifting them and popping them back into pots but no I'd let them get by without a little help from the gardener.  Come April the temperatures started rising and the Salvias were showing signs that they had survived, albeit a little pale.  I should point out though that many of the perennials and shrubs alike looked similar.  I treated them to a bit of a seaweed tonic and that soon put them right.  

Come June the 3 plants were lush, healthy and as you can see just raring to go.  The dark stems are quite a feature too I think.

And this evening, see for yourself.  I think you'll agree they certainly are impressive looking plants, despite their delayed start in my garden.  The torrential rain we received the other day saw many perennials almost on their knees, Salvia Kate Glen remained reasonably upright and perked themselves right up a few hours later without assistance or support.  Loved by the bees and completely pest and disease free here in my garden.  What more can a gardener ask for?  I think it is quite the 'showstopper'.          

Salvia Kate Glen, Rosa Darcy Bussell
Phlox paniculata Violet Flame in the background

Kate and Darcy - the perfect pair!

Salvia Kate Glen, Erigeron, Sedum and Neptata
sun lovers in the border together