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You may well have planted up your hanging baskets, and are perhaps on the cusp of harvesting the first of your home-grown veg, and by now you should have inspected your borders, cut back some of the spring performers (nothing worse then the mildewed leaves and ragged bonnets of aquilegias) - and chomping at the bit to fill gaps. If you haven't, and you're not, call yourself a gardener? ;-)

We have some really beautiful herbaceous perennials, many grown by us at The Nazarene in Didsbury, in addition to the Hairy Pot range, and yet more from one of our favourite wholesale perennial nurseries in Norfolk. They will be joined by peat free ferns and more shrubs next week.

Hope to see you soon,


Are you a sucker for Salvias?

Salvia is a genus of about 960 species of herbaceous and woody plants of the mint family (Lamiaceae). The genus is distributed throughout Eurasia and the Americas and is especially diverse in Central America and in the Mediterranean region. Some members are important as sources of flavouring - Salvia officinalis, or common sage - and many are grown as garden ornamentals. Chia (Salvia hispanica) is cultivated commercially for its edible seeds.

For a garden setting, there are so many varieties from which to choose, and though some are a bit tender, they do fare much better if planted in a sheltered sunny position: that elusive spot we all struggle to find. Some varieties would make good replacements for bedding in pots, or why not mix it up a bit? The soil should not be over rich, and winter drainage must be good, and it's advisable to take a few cuttings in late summer as insurance (if you don't know how to, I'll show you) or you can pot them up and grown them on under protection in a greenhouse or conservatory, though don't cut them back until new shoots appear in spring. Bees love them!

What've we got then?

Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna': stands at about 50cm. Striking, upright, reliable, hardy, long flowering period, with lovely dark stems and violet-purple flowers. A Bud favourite.

Salvia 'Hot Lips': a bushy plant, about 1m x 1m and evergreen in milder winters. She has small, ovate, aromatic green leaves. The flowers are red in midsummer, bi colored red and white in July and August and sometimes completely white when the days shorten. That doesn't half confuse people.

Salvia 'Trewithen' and Salvia 'Trebah': named to commemorate the total solar eclipse that occurred over Cornwall on 11 August 1999, these beauties are S. greggii x S. microphylla hybrids. 'Trewithen' has lilac-white flowers, and 'Trebah' cerise-pink. They flower from June to November, and both leaves and flowers can be used to flavour food and drinks.

Salvia 'Wendy's Wish': up to 1m high, with red stems, aromatic, pale olive-green leaves and abundant, citrus-scented, rich pink flowers with darker pink calyces* from midsummer to autumn.

Salvia 'Love and Wishes': similar to Wendy's Wish in form and habit, with bold reddish-purple flowers with dark burgundy calyces*.

Salvia 'Amistad': these beauties sell like hot cakes, and no wonder! The larger than average flowers are a deep shade of purple, with near-black calyces* and supporting stems. Sarah Raven, she of the velvet frock-coat says 'If I was only allowed to take one plant to a desert island, this would be in the running.'

*calyces (singular calyx), are the protective wrapping around petals, which are more prominent and decorative in some plants.

Below: Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna' and the buds of Salvia 'Wendy's Wish'.

Plastic plant pots... again

Our most recent delivery of herbaceous perennials arrived in grey plastic pots, which means the pots can be recycled, in theory (black plastic pots and packaging contain carbon pigment and can't be recycled in normal plastics' waste streams). The horticulture industry has responded to the plastics and recycling crisis (though why do we have to reach crisis point before anything changes?) but we now need our local authorities to up their game. *All* we have to do is put pressure on our councils to collect the pots: in Manchester we can put only bottle shaped plastic in our brown bins, and I think the same is true of Stockport and Trafford. Does anyone fancy helping with a campaign? I am much too busy to do it on my own. I'll leave it with you. 

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Bud Garden Centre · Omer Drive · Burnage · Manchester, Greater Manchester M19 2JN · United Kingdom

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