Little did I realize that when I agreed to a garage expansion for my husband’s Mustang restoration project, I was also in for a garden restoration project. After the water-loving camellias, azaleas, and ferns were bulldozed from the north side of the old garage, I recognized the opportunity to establish a truly drought tolerant garden. Now, where to start?
I checked the Master Gardener and City of Visalia websites for landscaping ideas and plants, and the plant Salvia came up over and over. So, that’s what I considered first.
The name Salvia is derived from the Latin word, salver, which means: “to heal.” As it happens, Salvia has been used for its herbal and medicinal qualities since ancient times. The genus Salvia offers gardeners one of the largest and most versatile groups of plants available. Since the 1970’s, this genus has produced some of the most popular garden ornamentals. Salvias can be used as ground covers, bedding plants, herbaceous perennials and shrubs. A relative of the familiar kitchen sage, many types of Salvias produce spikes of small, densely packed flowers atop aromatic foliage. These heat- and drought-tolerant beauties bloom from early to late summer in shades of blue, violet, red, pink, and white. Plants can grow between 18 inches and 5 feet tall, depending on the variety.