August 22, 2015

Russian Sage (Advice)

Perovskia atriplicifolia

One would think that the longer one gardened the more varieties of plants one would wouldn't one? 

Well....not necessarily so in this gardener's case. When I first started to garden, anything and everything...from lupines and delphiniums to phormium and agaves... was on my plant list and (for VERY brief spells) in my flower beds. Over the years, for reasons practical and horticultural and personal....

I have drastically reduced and edited my plant list...and quite frankly, some of my horticultural ambitions. Some, I no longer grow not because I can't......but because out of deference and respect for the plant itself, and its own very specific aesthetic sensibility...    


Take, for example, the sheer lavender brilliance of Russian Sage, Perovskia. A Prussian-blue meets lavender perennial that greets me at most every corner here in Salida, CO. The light, the space, the aridity, the drainage, the very attitude of Colorado is just made for this spikey gray bloomer...and vice versa. In my small urban OKC flower border, I cannot easily provide any of these conditions ...just great affection and admiration for its potential; alas, something never fully realized in my home garden, where it grew lanky and sullen from too much water and too little sun and space.

 Quite simply,  I just couldn't do this handsome plant justice, and now feel I do it a disservice to try.

Better to savor it in a happy home, where it flourishes, waves, sprawls and dances... hosting no end of pollinators and winged visitors who, like me, are also great admirers of its color, shape and personality.

I simply added it to a list of other plants...not failures so gardening companions (so to speak) with whom given my situation I just wasn't well suited...and they for me. I still love and appreciate and admire, and even covet them a bit...

but no longer am driven to possess or cultivate. I consider it advancement along a learning curve...this acknowledgment of things, like a tattoo or a bikini or even an extra large Christmas tree...for which I am not now suited...but am happy to admire elsewhere.


  1. Wonderful photos!!! I need some of that lovely Russian sage for my bees. I will have to added to my Spring wishlist.

  2. Oh yes, Carolina Elizabeth (LOVE that name; makes me happy to type it!)! If you have the space and conditions for it you will be rewarded with bees, hummingbirds and pollinators galore. A def for your spring wishlist!

  3. I don't have that one (although I see it around town everywhere). I do, however, have two purple Salvia patches that anchor the corners of my sun garden. I know what you mean about choosing to admire some plants from afar. Sometimes the conditions just aren't quite right in ones own garden, but that doesn't mean we don't appreciate the plant, itself.

  4. You are so wise, PP...I do love purple salvia too. Which variety do you grow?


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