Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Ooh la la, senor!

Every once in a while you come across a plant that absolutely stops you in your tracks. I literally let out a WOW when I saw this at Morris Arboretum yesterday. It was in the Alice and J. Liddon Pennock Flower Walk behind a bank of coleus that was also striking.

Ooh la la, senor!

Every once in a while you come across a plant that absolutely stops you in your tracks. I literally let out a WOW when I saw this at Morris Arboretum yesterday. It was in the Alice and J. Liddon Pennock Flower Walk behind a bank of coleus that was also striking.

This is purple Mexican sage or bush sage, Salvia leucantha, and while you'll read that it gets about 4 feet tall, this bunch was pushing 5.  The flower wands are like velvet, and when they sway in the breeze, it's truly an inspiring sight.

I'm told this is'Midnight,' a rich violet purple with silvery gray leaves. Covered with blooms. Some folks advise staking but why would you want to? I love the way it bends and nods. It's supposed to be drought-tolerant and a draw for bees and butterflies.

Only thing wrong with this plant? It won't survive our winters. But it's on my list for spring 2012.


Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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