Saturday, May 23, 2015

Garden Foliage: Variations on a Theme

Salvia officinalis
For this month's Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day, I have been thinking about the degree of variation in leaves of a single type of plant, in this case Salvia.  I have four different species of Salvia growing in the garden at present: S. greggii, S. elegans, S. reptans, and the humble classic S. officinalis.  There are many more, some of which will undoubtedly be added to the garden when I get the chance because Salvias are proving reliable plants here - at least so far.

But about the leaves.  Here are the four.

S. greggii's are small and rounded, bright green with a slight scallop to the edges.  Here is a cluster from the now happy "Flame", which is happily reestablishing itself in a shadier spot.
Salvia greggii foliage
Somewhat similar in colour and overall shape is the foliage of S. elegans.  Its leaves come to a sharper point, however; veining is heavy, and the edges are more notched than scalloped.
Salvia elegans foliage
And yes, it is blooming just now!
Salvia elegans, pineapple sage
Those two are very "leafy".  The other two Salvias are more exaggerated.  At one extreme are the very linear leaves of S. reptans which have earned it the nickname West Texas Grass Sage. 
Salvia reptans foliage, GBFD
And at the other extreme, culinary sage, S. officinalis, with its rounded, furry, bumpy, silver leaves. 
Salvia officinalis, GBFD
 All of these have fragrant foliage - as one associates with sage - but the scents vary as widely as the shapes.  S. greggii has a fresh, minty fragrance; S. elegans earns its soubriquet of  "pineapple sage" by its wonderfully fruity fragrance; S. reptans, as I noted in an earlier post, smells pungent with something of a whiff of gasoline, and S. officinalis is, of course, the "true" sage scent of the kitchen.

There are others I would love to try, but these four contain quite a bit of variation in themselves so I thought it would be fun to present them here for Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day.  I will be linking this post - though quite late - to Christina's at My Hesperides Garden . 
Salvia reptans foliage, GBFD
Weather Diary: Mostly sunny, High: 80 F (26.7 C)/Low: 61 F (16.1 C)

10 comments:

  1. Your photos are always wonderful, Amy. Enjoy the holiday weekend!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kris! Have a good one :)

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  2. I love all of the salvias - the foliage is great, especially the scented ones!

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    1. The salvias have so much to recommend them! And the scented foliage runs such a delightful range - and discourages rabbits ;-)

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  3. Your beautiful picture, get that the plants look more beautiful, than they really are.
    I think they like to see you around with your camera ... and they say you thanks offering their bloom :)
    Sorry, I'm making a mess with my English ... the truth is that you are an extraordinary photograph of nature, congratulations Amy!!

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    1. So very kind of you to say so, Belén :) Thank you so much! Hugs!!

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  4. Great close ups Amy - you profile your plants ever so well. I do like the very fine foliage of the West Texas Grass Sage. The woodland sage is the one I've found does not too bad in the open ground here and I've managed to over winter Salvia Amistad by way of cuttings for my summer garden this year.
    Those scarlet blooms of S. elegans are gorgeous with a capital G!

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    1. I was surprised at how wonderful those S. elegans blooms are, Angie - I'd never seen the plant in bloom before so it was quite a treat to walk out and see those blossoms the first time! I've never had much luck overwintering things, kudos to you and Salvia Amistad must be a fun one to bring through :)

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  5. Adding Christina's comment here as she has had difficulties getting it to publish - unfortunately, I can't set a link back to her...

    "I love how you decided to show the immense variation in foliage in one species; just proves we don't needs lots of plants in the garden but variations on a theme will work really well. Thanks for joining GBFD this month Amy, and my apologies for only commenting now, very late; the reason is that I haven't found a way to comment on 'blogspot' posts from my iPad, it only works from the laptop! Have a lovely week.”

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    1. And a quick note of thanks, Christina! I've become fascinated by those variations :)

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