Available May to July only.
(Bronze Sword) By turns golden, creamy green or outrageously orange, the blades of Bronze Sword rise about knee high. Its star-shaped white flowers, which bloom on shorter, branched stems, are a lovely pure white.
But this member of the Iris-family (Iridaceae) is primarily grown for its striking foliage, which forms dense, stiff, upright fans. Some of the blades have a striped look. As British garden writer Sally Nex says, Bronze Sword is an evergreen that you might as well call "evergold" due to the way its coppery amalgam of colors shine in sunlight.
Similar to other irises, Bronze Sword spreads by rhizomes. When crowded after a few years of growth, it's easy to dig it up so the roots can be separated for replanting.
Bronze Sword is native to New Zealand. It grows well in areas with mild winters, but can tolerate USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 7 if protected with winter mulching and excellent drainage. It does well in any soil as long as the soil isn't persistently damp.
Give this Iris full sun to partial shade. It thrives with average watering based on local conditions, but withstands drought. Bronze Sword looks attractive as path edging and groundcover as well as in borders, cut-flower gardens and seasonal flowerbeds. Don’t worry about deer grazing, because they don't like it.
(Jerusalem Sage) This lovely herbaceous perennial is native to Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. Its clear pink flowers transition at times to a pink highlighted with violet lines and dots. Prominent glandular hairs on the buds, bracts and floral stems exude a fragrance that is delightful on a warm day.
"Hierosolymitana" is related to the Greek word "hieros," which means holy and the Latin name for Jerusalem, "Hierosolyma." Palestinian Arabs sometimes use its leaves as a food wrap, similar to grape leaves. Jerusalem Sage needs full sun. Heat and drought tolerant, it seems to prefer being a bit dry.
A short species that works well as a groundcover or border plant, Jerusalem Sage forms a basil rosette of mid-green leaves that gradually spread about 18 inches. It blooms on and off throughout the growing season and seems especially generous in spring and fall.
As with so many sages, this one is not appealing to deer.
Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them:
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.