PERUVIAN SAGE(Salvia discolor) is a herbaceous perennial growing in a very localized area in Peru—it is equally rare in horticulture and in its native habitat.
When I came across a few images in my archives this morning, I could smell the fragrance in my memory.
There are several plants on a corner of the walking paths at the south end of the Ornamental Lake in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and the perfume, noticeable from about 15-20 feet away, is intoxicating. The scent is soft, sweet and so beautiful that I urge any of you home gardeners out there to buy a plant if you have the right growing conditions. It’s not as strong and overwhelming as, say, Jasmine, Gardenia, some of the Lillies or Jonquils and Hyacinths which give me a migraine.
Its colour is such a dark purple it almost looks black in some of my images.
You won’t be disappointed if you think of adding this to your Salvia collection. Like many herbs, it can get a little ungainly, so after flowering, it’s worth pruning it back hard to keep the bush in a good shape for the following year.
When I lived 5 minutes walk from the RBG, I always made it a point of walking down that path and inhaling its heady perfume and made many attempts to photograph it. One needs to kneel down and get fairly low and crawl around trying to catch its delicate branches waving in the gentle breeze.
It usually took a while to find a branch and flowers which you could isolate from the rest of the bush and get a good blur in the background.
Yesterday was one of those gorgeous Spring days filled with sunshine and the chirping of birdsong. Perfect day to be outdoors gardening.
I planned on potting up my new Spring seedling purchases, but didn’t quite finish the task.
A second round of plant shopping at the local Hardware/Plant Nursery Warehouse on Tuesday meant I ran out of plastic pots yesterday and I couldn’t decide on what size container to re-pot my pot-bound Blueberry “Nellie Kelly” anyway.
The trouble is that the next size up from the current Blueberry pot is really quite large and when filled with soil may end up being too heavy to lift.
I have to lift, or turn, my potted plants every couple of days as they tend to grow towards the west (where the sun travels after rising over my apartment building). To get even foliage growth on each vegetable, herb or flower, turning the pots regularly is mandatory. And once the hot summer arrives and the air-conditioning outlet on the balcony spews out hot air, I have to move the pots mostly up to the southern (or left-hand side as I look out my windows) of the balcony.
I shall have to go back to the Plant Nursery – a third time in a fortnight 😀
Methinks I’m a plant shopaholic.
Put me in a large Plant store and I’m like a mischevous child in a lolly shop (candy store).
I often feel tempted to look around the plant aisles in case I’m caught in the act of over-indulging. I always get a shock at the receipt $$$ after the cashier has rung up the items in my shopping basket.
So many colours and plant varieties at the store forced me, (yes, forced me 🙂 , well that’s my take on the matter), to splurge out on a couple of flowering plants to break up the mass of greenery in my balcony garden.
It won’t be until the mid/end of Summer, that my herbs have any flowers.
Violas are undoubtedly one the most delightful of all flowers to grow with their delicately marked, almost hand-painted-looking dainty flowers. They are a picture for months on end.
You can find them in just about every colour of the rainbow with many featuring multicoloured blooms. Violas have slightly smaller flowers than Pansies (which I also viewed enthusiastically at the Plant Nursery).
I used some of the new Tomato/Herb potting soil which is probably a wee bit too akaline, but never mind, if they grow they grow, if they keel over with the new potting soil – they keel over.
I potted up this plant in an old low terracotta pot which was the only spare one left and would do nicely to sit on my desk.
(after breaking all my beautiful ornate expensive pottery containers some years ago when I lived on the south-east side of Melbourne, I stick to cheap plastic pots these days. This low terracotta pot is the only ‘breakable’ one left).
My lounge room gets plenty of light from the floor-to-ceiling windows across the whole width of the room.
(I have grown vegatables and herbs indoors, but some don’t like the reverse cycle heater/air-conditioner on the wall).
At least I got the Peace Lily (indoors) repotted up to a larger pot 😀
Supposed to rain today, so I’ll be indoors ‘pretending’ to do the ironing and household chores 🙂
P.S. I almost forgot, not in the photo above, but I bought another large Mint bush. Can’t have the little Fairy-wrens running out of their favourite grazing ‘salad’.
So that makes 3 lush Mint bushes in round, or higher, pots and the rather pitiful remnants of the original mint plant in the low trough which the Superb Fairy-wrens and House Sparrows use as a smorgasbord for morning and afternoon tea.
The Mint in the low trough keeps sprouting new leaves and the Wrens and Sparrows keep snacking on the new young leaves leaving a rather untidy stunted mess.
Here’s a re-run of some of the images you’ve seen before (below). The bush in the low trough looks rather unsightly, but since my young avian friends enjoy their picnic on the bush(es), I can’t bear to toss it out in favour of a large, more robust bush.
Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
The Purple Coral Pea (Hardenhergia violate) is in bloom. I wonder if any person living in my road has even noticed.
….and how do I know…..I just stood at the window watching the plants and young saplings being blown nearly double by the strong winter wind and looked across the road between the 2 hedges. There, nearly 35-40 feet long, is the faint hint of purple.
It’s a very long patch of intertwining vines. One can’t really see much (in the image below), but I know it’s there and what the flower is. It’s blowing a gale today and much too inclement to go outdoors to get a close-up shot (after sitting in a heated room most of the day), but you can get the idea by the image below. Much too far away for a hand-held shot – even with a 150-500 mm heavy lens (which was the closest camera out of it’s bag).
…….and for those who don’t know what this gorgeous intertwining vine looks like, here’s some images made over recent years. Most of these were made at the end of the day, hence the rich blue-green tone of the leaves – the blue hour.
Hardenbergia violacea, Purple Coral Pea or Native Sarsaparilla, is a well-known climber with twining stems.
The leaves are glossy green, with prominent veins and up to ten centimetres long. The flowers are pea-shaped, up to one centimetre across, purple, and violet and rarely pink or white. They are carried in large clusters from late winter to early spring. Blooms are both profuse and conspicious. They are followed by pods that carry a number of black, hard-coated seeds.
H. violacea could be grown as a ground cover if it is denied access to other plants or objects to clamber over. (The vine across the road is starting to climb up one of the Cypress trees in the top hedge).
The Purple Coral Pea occurs in all eastern mainland states including Tasmania and South Australia.