From the Archives – 2011 & 2012
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.