Salvia Chapter 9: Salvias from Hillview Nursery

The lovely flower of Salvia microphylla ‘Wild Watermelon’

Some weeks have gone past since I last wrote about my Salvia nursery here in the West-Midlands and thought I’d update on our latest new varieties which we collected from our good friends and colleagues, Hillview Nursery in Shropshire.

Hillview has just got over 40 different varieties of Salvias, many of the shrubby varieties I was after but about half are ‘Old World’ varieties, which are all good herbaceous perennials for sunny borders and pots.

They also have 2 National Plant Collections namely, 9 Acanthus spp. and several varieties as well as Albuca.

Albuca is a genus of flowering plants in the familyAsparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae. The genus is distributed mainly in Southern and Eastern Africa, with some species occurring in Northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Plants of the genus are known commonly as ”Slime Lilies”

Hillview has about 20 varieties available, which you can grow yourself from seed.

Several of the shrubby salvias are grown outside in a narrow plant bed. As the nursery is on a hill (!) and has well drained soil the salvias are well suited. As well as many types of plants, the Millingtons are also very keen on their pets and as well as many cats they now also have 2 beautiful puppy dogs called ‘Gin’ and ‘Tonic’. Unfortunately the old Collie called Maggie passed away last year.

We were greeted by those friendly, very lively, but chained up twin puppies and Matt couldn’t help making a fuss of them, whilst I was having a look to see whether I could find anybody.

Not difficult as John greeted me from behind the potting up machine, where he and a lady staff were busily potting up a whole lot of new perennials ready for the season!

He told us to find a trolley and go salvia-hunting in one of the tunnels.

So this is what we did and soon I got exactly 30 plants and several varieties I did not have already.

There are so many varieties or mainly cultivars I should say that have come on to the market in recent years as a result of breeding and selection by large nurseries from Britain, Netherlands, other countries in Europe and from America. In California they have some beautiful colour variations but as I said before about progeny, often these plants may not suited to our fickle climate. However if we can give the plants what they want in terms of aspect, soil condition and temperature, they will prosper for us. This often means planting them in containers and to place those in the sunniest spot of your garden. But even shady patios can suit certain salvias; so don’t despair! The advantage of shade can be less drying out and watering. Foliage is also more attractive in shade.

Here are some different varieties I obtained for my new collection:

Salvia ‘Pleasant View’; with brigh purple-pink flowers on a bushy plant and found + named by Christine Yeo at her ‘Pleasant View Nursery’ in Devon.

Christine was a former National Collection holder of the genus Salvia and written 2 handy booklets about them you can still obtain here: Salvias  & Salvias II.

She was responsible for a lot of pioneering work, collecting both the New and Old World salvias.

I also got Salvia ‘Wild Watermelon’ which is in my opening picture of this post.

This was a favourite of mine. A rather low, spreading bush where the flowers sit proud of the leaves and the magenta pink flowers have a white throat.

Then I got a new variety with an appealing name ‘Cavalieri d’Alto’ which has dark pink flowers over a long flowering season according to Hillview’s website!

Then Salvia greggii ‘Magenta’ and Salvia x jamensis ‘Golden Girl’ sounded very appealing. Looking forward to grow all these newer varieties over the summer and test their abilities.

Was also happy to find Salvia x jamensis ‘Los Lirios’ . This is a vigorous variety and has an unusual grey pink flower, which you don’t often see in other plants. There are 4 similar Spanish-named varieties which I do now have in my collection once again and are all lovely varieties in my opinion.

These are: ‘La Luna’, which is the only ‘apt’ cream/lunar coloured variety,

while all the others have this unusual shades of pink: ‘La Siesta’, ‘La Tarde’ and a variety which is very similar looking to ‘Los Lirios’ without a proper name. It is still called Salvia x jamensis ‘5096’ as when I had it at Rodbaston College in the collection! I may just give it a name, as I think it deserves one!

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