‘Black and Blue’ salvia is really more blue and purple than black, but you know how these things go in the garden world. Dark purple is often considered black and identifying colour is mostly down to a bit of wishful thinking. This salvia is also reported to attract hummingbirds, hence the common name, hummingbird sage, but it does not live up to the hype there either, at least not in my garden where nary a hummingbird has been seen and not for want of trying.
I’ve been thinking a lot about diversity in the garden. As I wander around, observing everything that is growing, the beautiful diversity within each family and genus, and even within the same plant amazes me. I don’t have anything super profound to say about this right now, it’s just something that I am appreciating in new ways and I think that my understanding of diversity within plants is maturing with time.
I will say this: lately, the diversity I observe on even a superficial level (I am after-all merely a gardener and an observer and not a botanist) leaves me wondering whether a photo of one flower, leaf, etc from one plant growing within a single garden can represent a specific variety.
This Plains Pricklypear (Opuntia polyacantha) was a new addition to the garden, planted just this spring so I was surprised when a flower appeared. All of my other opuntias took at least one full season to put out flowers.
And what a stunning dusty peachy-pink colour it is! One of the small consequences of “going to the desert to see the really big cactus” (this is how I put it to my six year-old neighbour) is that I missed out on the first blooms produced by many of the cacti in my own garden, so I feel especially fortunate to have caught this one.
I saw a lot of amazing plants on the desert trip, some with fascinating stories and critical ethnobotanic ties to the region. Yet, with so many to choose from and so many photographs far better than these, even I find it a little bit odd that I chose to begin with one so tiny and insignificant.
I suppose my affection for this plant has something to do with how I found it.
I’m not sure when I made the transition from rose-hater to rose-eater. These days I have several roses planted in my garden, most of which have been chosen specifically for their eat- and use-ability. All roses are edible, but only those that smell fragrant taste good. Scentless roses are flavourless.
I recently returned from a long trip to an explosion of fresh blooms specifically from the three climbing roses that are planted in front of my ramshackle shed. Two of the three were planted last season and are doing well, but the third, a beautifully scented orange and golden variety called ‘Westerland’ that is now in its third year here has gone absolutely gangbusters. I have been harvesting a generous basketful of fresh blooms every day since my return and it doesn’t seem to be stopping. Once this flush is done there will be at least one more smaller flush later in the season.
I preserve the blooms in several ways, but today I thought I’d share the quickest and easiest method: drying.