Flowering now

Fell for a chrysanthemum in a garden shop late last year, the flowers a delicate lilac colour with a centre so pale it was almost white … believe it or not, the picture above is of the same plant! The advice was to plant it out and cut it back when it finished flowering, which I did, not expecting much as previous attempts resulted in dead plants (a few years ago, mind, so maybe I’ve got better at this gardening thing).


My formerly potted chrysanthemum. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The plant has shot up to about a metre high, got very bushy and covered itself in pink flowers, which are nothing like the colour they were when I bought it. Can anyone explain this change to me?

I’ve noticed a few plants have had more intensely coloured flowers this year – is it the long, dry spell; the application of seaweed fertiliser, a combination of both …? All thoughts gratefully received, just click on “leave a reply” at the bottom of the page.

My pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is in full bloom, and what a sight it was yesterday with raindrops hanging off its many flowers and their scarlet colour intensified by the dark sky (in case you didn’t hear, the drought has well and truly broken).


The flowers of pineapple sage. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The common name of pineapple sage comes from the tropical scent the leaves give off when crushed. Both the leaves and the flowers can be eaten. I cut my plant back hard when it’s finished and it will shoot away again in spring.

I’ve got it in my small “red garden” with orange-red alstroemerias and tall red kanagaroo paws all planted, as you can see above, against a bright, blue wall.

The Salvia Study Group of Victoria (Australia) has a great website with a long list of plants, their flowering times, photos for identification – one thing the group wants to do is ensure correct naming of the many, many plants that make up this family – and lots of other information.

I’m going to use it to try and track down the name of the salvia pictured below. I spotted one recently in a garden and eagerly asked its name, only to be told, “I call it ‘the one Peter gave me’.” Ah, I have ‘the one Gael gave me’.

It has been grown from a cutting in a pot and left to its own devices … but it has flowered all summer and not complained about the dry spell. It’s woody, grows very tall and has flowers coloured somewhere in the brick to brown spectrum with white tips that are only really evident when the flowers fall. If anyone knows its name, I’d love to learn it.


The one Gael gave me, properly known as Salvia confertiflora. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Update: Thanks to a reply from the Salvia Study Group, the salvia pictured has been identified as Salvia confertiflora.


4 thoughts on “Flowering now

  1. Hi Sandra. The change in colour intensity may be due to 12 months in a less artificial environment’ or difference in feeding regime. Change of height is due to the wearing off of the dwarfing chemicals used at the production nursery for a more indoor friendly plant. Laurie

    • Hello Laurie,

      Goodness me, you can feed plants to boost their size, but I didn’t realise you could feed them something to hold them back! Thanks for the inside info.

  2. Salvia Confertiflora is the name of this Salvia. Should you wish to identify any Savias – send your query through to the Co-ordinator of the Salvia Study Group Lindy Garnett (email address on official web site).
    Regards Patrick Hogan

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