(Congo Cockatoo) Busy Lizzie this is not! Vivid candy-corn colors and nectar spurs arched similar to cockatoo beaks make Impatiens niamniamensis 'African Queen' an unusual sight.
Except for its glossy, deep green, veined leaves, you might not identify this unusual plant as being related to the flat-petaled Impatiens walleriana that began taking over the shade in home gardens beginning in the 1950s. Congo Cockatoo comes from the flashier side of the family.
This tall Impatiens has dark succulent stems. As the stems darken and thicken over time, it begins to look like a tiny tree.
Congo Cockatoo was first collected in South Sudan where the Niam-Niam tribe live and once practiced cannibalism. It's one of about 1,000 Impatiens species and is native to a broad swath of Central Africa from Kenya west to Cameroon. In the U.S., it grows best as a houseplant or in patio containers in warm-winter areas.
Similar to many members of its genus, this is a long-blooming plant. It tolerates heat, but needs lots of water as well as partial to full shade. For in-ground planting, this is one to consider if you live in a hot, humid area and have damp shady spots in your yard.
(Friendship Sage) Thank you Rolando Uria of the University of Buenos Aries for this very fine plant. Discovered in 2005 at a plant show in Argentina, this truly unique hybrid sage has generated a great deal of excitement in the Salvia world. We are happy to be able to offer this plant which we test grew in 2012 for sale in the Spring of 2013.
Growing to about four feet tall, this variety starts blooming when very small and never stops. Large rich royal purple flowers are highlighted dark bracts - all displayed on many-flowered inflorescence. The foliage is something like S. guarantica and something like S. mexicana, but it's true origins are unknown.
According to Rolando (pictured here at the Salvia Summit II in March 2013) this plant is replacing Salvia guarantica in the gardens of Buenos Aires. It resembles some of the purple Anise Scented Sages, but is an absolutely unique plant.
A true hummingbird magnet, use this fine plant as a specimen, in mass for bedding, in a container or in the perennial border. The true temperature hardiness of Amistad is still imperfectly understood, but the plant has handled 20 degree weather for us.
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.
If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.