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Phlomis tuberosa

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(Hardy Jerusalem Sage) A hardy, drought tolerant herbaceous perennial, this fine plant rewards you with tall spikes of rich pink whorled flowers in early to mid Summer. A Salvia relative is native to grasslands of Turkey, Iran and Siberia.

The tall spikes if this plant are stunning.  Use it with Salvia guaranitica 'Purple Majesty' and Salvia forsskaolii as a tall backdrop to the border.

A personal note - I tried for two years to successfully germinate seed of this plant.  In the Spring of 2009 I finally succeeded, and these strong, well established quarts are the result.  I hope you enjoy this plant as much as I do.


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Common name  
Hardy Jerusalem Sage
USDA Zones  
5 - 10
Size (h/w/fh)  
Full sun
Soil type  
Well drained & rich
Water needs  
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Our price


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Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
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  • Agastache rugosa 'Heronswood Mist'

    (Anise Hyssop) Although most varieties of Agastache (Anise Hyssop) come from the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, this is an Asian variety that is native to Korea, Japan and China. It is a magnet for butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.

    Spikes of dainty, deep blue-purple, tubular flowers arise from dark green, wrinkly foliage from summer to fall. Similar to most members of the mint family (Lamiaceae), Anise Hyssop plants have square stems. The leaves of these bushy perennials are a fragrant elixir of licorice, mint and citrus.

    Heronswood Mist is at least 12 inches taller than the original Asian species Agastache rugosa , which was collected in Korea in the late 20th century by plant explorer Dan Hinkley, founder and former owner of Washington state’s Heronswood Nursery. It grows well in USDA Zones 7 to 9.

    At 48 inches tall and 36 inches wide, Heronswood Mist works well as a short screen. However, it is also excellent in sunny patio containers. Heat tolerant and drought resistant, it thrives in dry gardens despite appreciating regular watering. Similar to so many members of the mint family, it isn’t picky about soil except for good drainage.

  • Echium gentianoides

    (True Blue Echium) Hot pink buds become a profusion of gentian blue flowers from spring to fall in this spectacular member of the borage family. Its homeland is the Island of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa.

    Although heat- and drought-tolerant, True Blue Echium prefers the balmy summers of its mountainous homeland, the rocky slopes of the volcano La Caldera de Taburiente. Temperatures there approximate those of San Francisco during summer.

    The plant’s foliage is equally eye-catching with its red stems and blue-green leaves with cream stripes. It makes a dramatic background planting, groundcover, perennial border or dry garden standout.

    You can grow True Blue Echium in a container as well, but select a deep pot for its long roots and expect it to grow smaller than its in-ground size of 4 feet tall and wide. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds are all attracted to this long blooming, true blue beauty.

  • Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle'

    (Mango Popsicle Hot Poker) This genus has become very popular in the last few years - for good reason. They feed hummingbirds & honeybees, and attract butterflies. And this superior variety from Oregon's TerraNova Nurseries is compact, free blooming and amazingly hardy.

    In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. This is absolutely our favorite. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.

    We don't grow many non-Salvias, and when we do it has to be special. This is one of those very, very good new plants. A must have plant.

  • Lepechinia salviae

    (Chilean Pitchersage) First described by Charles Darwin in 'The Voyage of the Beagle,' this shrubby perennial from coastal Chile is handsome and exotic looking whether in bloom or not. The large, arrow-shaped leaves, which are furry gray-green, set off the tubular carmine-red flowers that start blooming in early summer and continue until the end of the growing Season.

    This water-loving plant is a great choice for adding an exotic look to a mixed planting of Salvias in full sun or part shade.  Although the flowers are never numerous, they are highly sought after by hummingbirds.  Chilean Pitchersage is rare in the United States and should be used more in gardens and on patios in containers.

  • Puya venusta

    (Chagual) When in bloom, Puya venusta looks like a fireworks explosion of royal blue flowers and red bracts shooting up on a thick stem from a rosette of silvery green, bayonet-shaped leaves that curve sinuously.

    In Latin, venusta means handsome or charming. The stem of the flower spike and the bracts can vary from pinkish red to flamingo pink. While the flowers and bracts of Chagual look like a splashy party dress, the basal foliage is seriously handsome.

    Puyas are native to a number of South American countries. Puya venusta grows in semi-arid lands from the Chilean coast to rocky slopes in the Andes. Chagual grows at altitudes up to 1,500 feet. Its lanky flower spikes, topped with pinecone-like clusters of blossoms and bracts unfurl to reveal trumpet-shaped blossoms rich in nectar. Honeybees and hummingbirds are regular visitors. Perhaps deer avoid these plants due to the spiny margins of their leaves.

    Chagual looks otherworldly, like something that might grow on the windy, dusty landscape of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles

    Similar to Puya alpestris it grows about chest high. However, it spreads further. Drought resistant and fond of full sun, Chagual is a good accent planting, background border or groundcover in a dry garden. Wear gloves and protective clothing when weeding around it.

    Puyas are part of the Bromeliaceae family, which includes the subfamily known as the Bromeliads and includes pineapples. Although many sources refer to pineapples as being the only edible Bromeliad, that isn't accurate. In South America, the fleshy hearts of Puya flowers are frequently shredded -- similar to cabbage in cole slaw -- and eaten in salads.

  • Salvia forsskaolii

    (Balkan Sage) Violet-blue whorls of flowers and plentiful, fuzzy, basal leaves that reach an impressive length of 18 inches are two notable features about this hardy, herbaceous perennial, which is native to the Southeastern Balkan Peninsula.

    Balkan Sage is found in coniferous forests, meadows and slopes from Bulgaria to Turkey's Black Sea coast. However, it is named after the 19th century Finnish plant collector Peter Forsskål, who collected botanical samples further south in Saudi Arabia.

    Although deciduous in areas with cold winters, it blooms about nine months a year for us on the Northern California coast beginning in summer. Following a brief winter dormancy, it returns reliably every spring, clumping in a way that makes it look like Hosta from a distance. Yet, unlike that woodland plant, it grows well in full sun as well partial shade. It is a fine choice for a lightly shaded garden or border and is happy in the acid soil under conifers.

    Give it soil with average fertility, occasional water and enough shade to promote lush growth. Your reward will be large flowers with lovely white and yellow bee lines attractive to hummingbirds and honeybees.

  • Salvia guaranitica 'Purple Majesty'

    (Purple Majesty Sage) This exceedingly long blooming hybrid is a cross between Salvia guaranitica spp (Anise-Scented Sage) and Salvia gesneriiflora (Mexican Scarlet Sage).

    Purple Majesty has fragrant, lush, mint-green foliage and a profusion of deep purple flowers that bloom from early summer until frost. We also love its lush, mint green foliage.

    Its height (up to 5 feet), upright habit and long, tubular flower clusters (8 to 12 inches) make it an obvious choice for back of border. However, planted in mass, it also makes a good screen in damp areas.

    Give Purple Majesty full sun to partial shade. It should be pruned nearly to the ground in late winter to maintain a tidy, shapely appearance and to encourage vigorous new growth in spring.

  • Sideritis oroteneriffae

    (Canary Island White Sage) Thick, almost succulent leaves are so furry and white that everyone that sees this Canary Island native reaches out to stroke it. A true standout in a hot dry garden, this tough plant is the perfect background to show off the brightly colored flowers of many Salvias.

    Tiny yellow flowers in whorls are not showy, but clearly identify this plant as a close relative to Salvias.  Rare in cultivation, this is a fine garden plant for harsh conditions - and even grows well for us on the Northern California Coast.

    Grow in dryish, well drained soil in full sun and enjoy this unique Salvia companion,


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Book Review: Waterwise Gardens for Sustainable Gardens

Book Review: Waterwise Gardens for Sustainable Gardens

Category: Book Reviews
Posted: Jun 6, 2013 08:24 AM
Synopsis: "font-style: italic;"> Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden are garden designers and writers who split their time between Texas and Colorado, but their suggestions for low water, xeriscapic landscaping can benefit gardeners far from the American West, Southwest and Deep South. The authors agree with their Dutch contemporary, Piet Oudolf, that a naturalistic landscape design based on local climate -- including water limitations -- is the most sustainable choice.
I like Amstiad

Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.

  1. Go tubular. Hummingbirds need tubular flowers that are easy for long, thin beaks to access.
  2. Provide lots of color. Think of yourself as a cafeteria manager who needs to provide many tempting choices in order to attract business. Red, pink, orange and purple sages are particularly powerful hummingbird magnets.
  3. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based not only on color but also a broad span of bloom times. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons. Numerous winter-blooming species are available for areas that are home to hummingbirds year round.
  4. Grow sages native to the Western Hemisphere. Although hummingbirds will take advantage of many kinds of tubular flowering plants, these tiny birds are native to the Western Hemisphere and prefer flowering plants native to their half of the world.
  5. Select Salvia companion plants. Hummingbirds appreciate a variety of favorite tubular-flowered plants.
  6. Plant hummingbird gardens near cover. Trees and bushes surrounding feeding areas provide protection from predators and chilly, rainy weather.
  7. Don't use pesticides. Insects provide protein for hummingbirds, so don't kill these food sources.
  8. Provide water. Hummingbirds frolic in misters and shallow birdbaths.
  9. Supplement plantings with feeder tubes. Change the sugar water every few days and don't add food coloring. Keep the feeders clean, but don't scrub them with soaps or detergents. Here is more feeder care information.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about hummingbirds.