Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Plants I'm Growing--First Blooms: Cistus "Elma," Garden Sage, Salvia Lyrata (2010)

Three more plants came into first bloom in the garden today: One of the big rock roses (Cistus laurifolius x palhinhaii) "Elma," a large plant with slightly sticky, dark green leaves; garden sage (Salvia officianalis); and a low-growing salvia with a basal rosette of purple leaves that I believe is probably Salvia lyrata, although I'm not 100% sure. "Elma" has done well in some locations in the garden, less well in others, for reasons that are obscure to me. It's very pretty when it's happy. It has a touch of the ladanum scent that makes Cistus ladanifer so attractive. Ladanum (not to be confused with laudanum) is a common component of many perfumes. Cistus ladanifer is another one of the rock roses that has been somewhat difficult to grow. It seems to need more water than it typically gets here.

I first planted Salvia lyrata in the garden about five years ago. It didn't do well. It died after only one season, but not before spreading its seed. Since then, several plants have become established in places they seem to like better than the spot I originally chose. I let them have their way. The small white flowers are not very showy, but the basal rosette of dark purple-green leaves is always attractive.

Salvia officianalis, or garden sage, is one of the herbs I keep around for cooking. Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, and oregano are thriving at the moment. The chives, thyme, sage, and rosemary are in bloom, although the rosemary is mostly finished now. Seeds are forming. These are a favorite of the house finches, American goldfinches, and lesser goldfinches that are daily visitors to the garden.

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