Technology isn't the only field where change is constant. Horticulture is dynamic; new plants are constantly being introduced. Selecting the best of the best can be daunting even if you are primarily dealing with one genus. Make that one huge genus, because there are about 900 species of true sages, or Salvias, worldwide.
We do our best to help you sample the Salvia world, including new varieties of sage species and companion plants. Our New at FBTS articles detail introductions to our catalog; some are brand new to commercial horticulture and others are simply new additions to our gardens. Please contact us if you would like to share your experience with these plants or other introductions.
Speedy access to well-illustrated, well-organized information is important. To help you dig deep and fast into the Flowers by the Sea online nursery catalog of Salvias and companion plants, FBTS has expanded its Quick Look Picture Galleries and information.
Flowers by the Sea now offers a powerful, do-it-yourself, product-filtering tool that makes plant selection easier and faster. It sets up a matrix of choices to help customers sort possible selections for their gardens based on USDA cold hardiness zones, sun exposure, mature height and spread of plants, soil type and water needs. This article explains how the tool works and provides examples of how to use it.
Plants don’t have voices but they have stories to tell, including tales of discovery. It’s easy to see why the early 18th century plant explorer Victor Jacquemont would have paused to collect the rare Salvia hians while traversing broad expanses of northwestern India. This second half of our article about the alluring species digs into its history.
For plant collectors, a mystique surrounds rare species like Salvia hians (Himalayan or Kashmir Sage). This is especially true when there is uncertainty about what the plant should look like. Perhaps the most famous image of S. hians is a 2012 photograph of UK plant collector Chris Chadwell next to an abundantly blooming stand of large violet-blue flowers with white lower lips. Why doesn’t the Flowers by the See variety of this rare species look exactly like the plant Chadwell found — a plant that seems to be the Holy Grail of Salvia collectors? We’ll do our best to explain.
Bees adore rosemary, the powerfully resinous Mediterranean native known both as a groundcover spilling over garden slopes and as an accent or tall hedge plant. Plant scientists who closely examined its DNA suggest moving the Rosmarinus genus into the Salvia genus. Flowers by the Sea now grows two kinds of Salvia rosmarinus.
To improve our ordering process, Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery no longer accepts split orders. Dividing an order for delivery on more than one date created confusion and errors.
A love of birds can grow into a passion for gardening. The reverse is also true. Sometimes these passions result in the development of excellent plants, such as Salvia x 'Margie Griffith' -- a 2017 introduction at Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery. Margie Griffith Sage grows up to 96 inches tall and wide in bloom. In some parts of its USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 to 11 it feeds hummingbirds nearly year round.
It isn't surprising that the golden flowers of the drought-resistant, perennial Texas Craglily (Echeandia texensis) are tops for attracting butterflies. The plant was first discovered on Green Island in Laguna Madre, which is at the southernmost tip of Texas. The area is part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which is home to 300 butterfly species. Texas Craglily is an adaptable plant that grows well both in dry and somewhat damp conditions and from California to the Southeast. But it is a rare species that may be threatened by land development and the U.S./Mexico border fence.
Flowers by the Sea Online Salvia Nursery has fallen hard for the delicate look but rugged constitution of wildflower sages from Valencia on Spain's Mediterranean coast, especially Strong Spanish Sage (Salvia valentina). S. valentina has upright form and looks elegant dressed up in tall spikes of deep lavender, double-lipped flowers from spring into summer. It's a meadow sage with fuzzy bracts and stems that mature from green to rich Pantone Marsala.
Plants contribute to our lives in many ways -- as sources of beauty, building materials, clothing, food, fragrance, medicine and oxygen. Add hope and fulfillment to the list, because that is what three abundantly blooming Salvias from Australia add to the lives of seriously ill children. These plants form the Wish Collection -- Wendy's Wish Sage, Ember's Wish Sage, and Love and Wishes Sage. Flowers by the Sea is one of the first online nurseries in America to sell all three. Although we have grown and sold Wendy's Wish for a number of years, Ember's Wish and Love and Wishes are new at FBTS.
Most bat faces only look beautiful to their mothers. However bat-faced Cuphea schumannii seems pretty as punch to hummingbirds in search of a sweet drink of nectar. If you take a close look at the ragged, open end of each flower, you'll see two, tiny, lavender petals standing straight up like bat or mouse ears. So, despite its common name, Orange Cigar Plant, this species is known as a bat-faced Cuphea. Aside from being excellent for attracting pollinators, Cupheas are becoming important agricultural crops that reduce pesticide use.
Drought-resistant, heat-tolerant, vibrantly colored Suncrest Salvias (sages) have arrived at Flowers by the Sea and will be available for shipping in April. Suncrest Salvias are floriferous hybrids of species native to the American Southwest and Mexico, including Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla), Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii), Jame Sage (Salvia x jamensis) and Royal Purple Autumn Sage (Salvia muelleri).