16 JULY 2020 43
For all your
Looking after your salvias
They are remarkably easy-going
plants and are rarely affected by
pests or diseases, so long as they
are planted in full sun (with the
exception of a few that don’t mind
a little shade) and in light, welldrained
soil. Avoid planting them in
soil that gets waterlogged, or in very
cold parts of the garden, and apply a
generous 5-7cm mulch of well-rotted
garden compost or manure around
the base of the plants each spring.
Many salvias flower through
summer and into autumn, and you
can encourage this by removing
flower spikes – ideally as soon as each
one starts to fade, but just a couple of
times each summer will do. They all
have a fairly stiff structure, so even
the tallest don’t need staking, and
they soon shrug off heavy summer
rains that can leave other plants
bedraggled. In a nutshell, they are
easy-care plants par excellence!
WHAT TO DO IN THE
GARDEN THIS WEEK
Hoe off the tops of weeds on a
sunny day, and leave them to shrivel
on the surface of the soil.
Once cordon tomato plants touch the
greenhouse roof, cut off the main stem
two leaves above the top flower truss.
When penstemons start looking
tired, keep flowers coming by cutting
back to just above a bud.
As soon as you’ve picked the fruit from
cherry trees, prune them to remove
weak, damaged or crossing branches.
BANISH ROGUE FOLIAGE
Variegated shrubs sometimes start to
produce plain leaves at their base – cut
these out as soon as you see them.
Ophiopogon planiscapus, and is one variety
that doesn’t mind a little shade.
Different again is Salvia x sylvestris
‘Schneehügel’, which has white flowers on
very upright, branching stems. It works well
for adding vertical interest to a border, and
shines out beautifully in the dark if you plant
it around a seating area where you tend to
spend time after the sun goes down.
There’s even a diminutive herbaceous
salvia that works well in a window box.
Growing to just 30cm high, Salvia nemorosa
‘Sensation Rose’ is also good at the front
of a border and has rose-pink flowers that
contrast well with a purple calyx and green
foliage. I’d go as far as to say it’s my favourite
salvia – but it does have quite a lot of
competition, so if you were to ask me again
tomorrow I’d probably pick another one!
Danny is a professional landscaper and
TV presenter. Next week Harry Rich