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Xeric Choices: Salvias in the Waterwise Garden

Dec 15, 2012

Xeric Choices: Salvias in the Waterwise Garden
Lush but not lushes – that’s one way you might sum up the majority of Salvias. Despite their long bloom times and bushy foliage, Salvias don’t generally belly up to the water hose. Overall, they are moderate when it comes to drinking. The most abstemious of the lot -- which are numerous and seem to need little water at all -- are perfect for xeriscape gardening.

Xeriscape (pronounced “zeerascape”) is the art of creating great beauty in the garden while conserving water. It is an important aspect of sustainability, which is a major focus at Flowers by the Sea.

What Is Sustainability?
Sustainability can be defined, in part, as being productive in harmony with nature. It is a practice – concerning the use of water, land and materials -- that involves the built environment as well as agriculture and horticulture.

Aside from cultivating colorful, healthy, ornamental plants and customer confidence, we cultivate sustainability at FBTS. This involves good stewardship of land, such as through organic farming practices, including composting to improve soil. It also involves conserving water.

The more we conserve water, the more we succeed financially and feel better about doing the right thing. The more we help you conserve water while growing pleasing landscapes, the more we all succeed in improving the environment.

A Series About Xeriscape
Converting your front yard to crushed rock and cacti isn’t a good solution to drought. That is one reason why FBTS grows more than 125 species of drought-tolerant Salvias. It’s also the reason why we are beginning an ongoing series of articles about the importance of xeriscape plants and design. We don’t believe that dry climates need to be dreary.

You likely wouldn’t know it to look at them, but xeric plants are tough customers when it comes to toughing out drought. Especially in the West, which is well known for its water shortages, adding Salvias and other low-water, ornamental plants to landscapes conserves a precious resource without giving up what is pretty.

In our next "Xeric Choices" post, we’ll explain the beginnings of xeriscape, a gardening method developed in Colorado more than 30 years ago. Then we’ll move on to consider the basics of the method and its links to ancient Native American practices. We promise the subject won’t be dry.



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Plants mentioned in this article
Ask Mr Sage is one of the most popular categories in our Everything Salvias blog. Here are a few of the latest posts:
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS - Flowers by the Sea is a mail-order nursery eliminating craziness from garden planning with advance orders and customer selection of shipping dates. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature based on calls and emails received by FBTS. This article details how to use our redesigned preorder process and other catalog tools for making sure you get the plants you want when you want them. Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants for Garden Triumph - Planning for Salvia garden success requires following the rule of selecting the right plant for the right place. Desert sages aren't appropriate for the damp Southeast. Moisture-loving ones aren't right for desert climates where they need lots of watering to survive. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery offers tips for selecting plants based on local climate. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Prune my Salvias? - Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery specializes in Salvias and often receives questions about how to prune them. Although getting good at pruning takes practice, Salvias rebound quickly if you make mistakes. A key to successful pruning is understanding the varying needs of four main categories of sages. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Offer Free Shipping? - Like free lunches, free shipping is a myth. Flowers by the Sea doesn't offer free shipping, because it would require increasing plant prices to cover the cost of shipping. Read more to learn how FBTS sets fair shipping prices. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and notes from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives - Drought resistant California native sages thrive when planted in fall. It's easier for roots to become established when soil is warm, air temperatures are cooler and precipitation is increasing. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Shipping in Boxes Like for Salvias? - It's understandable to worry about the condition of plants following shipment in a box. However, Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery is exceedingly careful to make sure your plants arrive in healthy condition. A satisfied customer sent us the photos in this article. Step by step, they illustrate the process of unpacking and hardening off FBTS plants received by 3-day ground delivery more than 1200 miles away from our Northern California farm.