Beach salvia against the bleak midwinter
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is now locked in the grip of a second very cold front. We even have snow on Table Mountain with more to come. Perhaps when the weather clears, there will be snow lying on our Elephant’s forehead. Between cold fronts we had blue sky and sun after the rain. I caught my sun-captured photos while I had a brief window of opportunity.
|Salvia africana-lutea bud|
in lime, lemon, toast and marmalade
As we wait for the property market to come to life after winter, I plan that future garden at our one day False Bay home. Choosing a plant for there, from our garden in Porterville.
|Beach salvia bud|
Beach salvia. Dune salvia. Bruinsalie. Sandsalie. Strandsalie. Salvia africana-lutea. In Camps Bay, Porterville and False Bay – this sage is in my garden chosen for the burnt orange flowers. My August choice for the False Bay Dozen for Diana.
|Salvia africana-lutea flowers|
Once it was growing in my garden I learnt to treasure the calyx which lingers LONG after the mere flowers are a fleeting faded fallen memory. First a burnished burgundy, blood and guts if you get too close. Fading to a metallic bronze.
The camera showed me yet another range of colours in the buds. Lime to lemon to toast to marmalade.
|Belle Epoque rose|
Beach salvia calyx last November
|Salvia africana-lutea leaves|
When we planted Paradise and Roses, I had a pair of beach salvia in my Autumn Fire bed – that range of burnt orange inspired colours perfect for my theme. But. Those plants grow huge, towering over my head if left to themselves. Had to move them across to the waterfall, where we had a new open patch to plant.
|Beach salvia in the centre|
at Rest and Be Thankful
There are a few seedlings coming up in the gravel path – if I can catch them before the Ungardener comes thru on a weeding frenzy.
|On the left Salvia africana-lutea|
with a little Dusty Miller, looking across to Paradise and Roses
This shrub is tough ; flourishing thru the worst a Porterville summer can throw at it (or later against salt sea breezes and sandy soil). Nectar attracts sunbirds and butterflies – from Kumbula Nursery. Bridging the gap when proteas are not in flower. Found on coastal sand dunes from Namaqualand down to the Cape Peninsula and up again to Port Alfred. Can be used as a tea against coughs, or in potpourri. South Africa has 38 of the world’s thousand species of Salvia - from PlantZAfrica. I watched a Cape white eye working thru the bush, as I sat on the bench with my breakfast.
|Dozen for Diana leaves to August|
|Dozen for Diana flowers to August|
I’d love to know which plant holds your attention in your August garden. Beth @ PlantPostings in Wisconsin is supporting migrating monarch butterflies with whorled milkweed. Donna @ Garden'sEyeView in NY State has bees visiting the ‘ear of grain’ flowers on her anise hyssop (in the mint family with my beach salvia).