My sad story is that I constantly fall in love – with plants that I can’t grow. But if your garden (unlike mine) is sunny, hooray! Here’s a great one for you. The delightful name azure blue sage (Salvia azurea) refers to its sky-blue flowers in late summer and early fall. Right about now, for instance.
It gets big bonus points for being a drought-tolerant, pollinator-friendly, native North American prairie plant. In fact, all three flowers in the picture above are natives, including the spiky goldenrod (Solidago rugosa) on the left and New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) on the right. Yes, a native plant garden can be a pow of colour. Well, certainly a full sun native garden.
Because of the large size of the individual flowers or florets above, I’m wondering if this is the variety Grandiflora. The worst that my research has turned up about this plant is that it can get floppy, especially on fertile soil. But cutting the new growth back once early in the year can help keep it more compact. These were about 3.5 meters or 5 feet tall at the MBG.
However, plant breeder and author Joseph Tychonievich has bred a shorter cultivar called ‘Blue September’ which you can get through a grower if you live in the U.S. Keep your eyes open for it – perhaps it will reach Canada one day.
I’ve looked around for a Canadian source for azure blue sage, with no luck yet. Please chip in a comment if you know one.