Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Salvia River

The Salvia River is at its peak, flooding the Light Plate with shades of violet. This area of the garden is so named because it cuts a boomerang-shaped swathe through the Light Plate from the Shoulder Hedge to the Meadow.

Plantsman Piet Oudolf chose four varieties of Salvia for this area: Salvia x sylvestris 'Rugen' (medium blue-violet), S. x sylvestris 'Wesuwe' (deep violet), S. x sylvestris 'May Night' ( dark blue-violet) and S. x sylvestris 'Blue Hill' (true blue).

The Salvias are planted in wide bands, crosswise to the channel. When you stand on the north path of the Light Plate and look south over the Salvia, the bands of color seem to ripple and undulate toward you - like a river.

The common name for these Salvias is Meadow Sage. The stems are square, indicating they are from the mint family. A closer look at the leaves show a similarity to the Mediterranean herb used in cooking, S. officinalis.

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