Saturday, 27 June 2015

Salvia ‘Kate Glen'

Salvia plugs on the potting bench. (The beer is for the slugs!)
Those awfully nice people at Unwins have sent me some plants to review.

Having been warned of their imminent arrival, today the postman brought me a small cardboard box continain three healthy looking plugs of Salvia 'Kate Glen'. Unwins are the sole distributor of this variety in the UK, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the plants perform.

I’m assuming that this is the same cultivar of Salvia nemorosa described on the website of Lambley Nursery in Australia, owned by David Glenn, who named the variety after his daughter. If this is the case, a letter 'n' appears to have gone astray somewhere in the journey from the antipodes, but the description of the plants seems to be more or less the same.

I’m particularly excited about these plants as I’ve recently had a run in with some voracious rabbits in one of my client’s gardens – rabbits who stubbornly refuse to read the literature which advises whether or not they should find a particular plant palatable. They’ve had a good go at just about everything, with the exception, I’ve noticed, of the achillea. While I now view lists of rabbit-resistant plants – on many of which salvia appears – with a degree of cynicism, I find that I’m encouraged by the rabbits’ apparent lack of enthusiasm for a plant with strongly scented leaves. Perhaps the salvias, like the achillea, will survive the onslaught of the critters.

Rabbit resistance is all very well, but unless you plant something with some aesthetic merit, you might as well cultivate a field of thistles. Salvia 'Kate Glen purports to reach a good 90cm in height, with bright green leaves on deep purple stems, and two-tone flower spikes – half the total height of the plant – pink in bud at the top, and opening violet lower down. The flowering period is reputedly long – well into autumn, apparently, and the plants are drought tolerant and frost hardy. Having initially potted the plugs on into 9cm pots, I’ll be trialling them in my garden at home before I consider exposing them to a site plagued by fearsome Leporidae. Here, we’ve only the slugs and snails to worry about. And a famously ravenous border terrier.

I’ll post again later on in the summer to let you know how they’re getting on.