Sensational salvias - gardening
PUBLISHED: 16:07 28 October 2010 | UPDATED: 18:05 20 February 2013
Lynsey and John Pink's interest in salvias has led to them holding a National Collection of these late season jewels in their garden at 2 Hillside Cottages in North Boarhunt
As well as glorious autumnal foliage in October, dont overlook the beauty of late season herbaceous plants as well. One of the most generous is the salvia, with around 900 species in an outstanding range of decorative spires of colour from greys and greens, through blues and mauves to the jewel-like intensities of scarlets and crimsons. Salvias start their show in mid-summer but continue their colourful display throughout autumn. With our hotter and drier summers some of the versatile hardy or half-hardy varieties may be just what you need for your borders.
A visit to a National Collection is a great way to learn more and see them growing in a home garden setting, such as at 2 Hillside Cottages in North Boarhunt. Set in one acre of gently sloping lawns are mixed borders dotted with glowing salvias. The garden has evolved since Lynsey and John Pink arrived in 1979, changing from mostly growing fruit and vegetables to lawn and ornamentals. We grew produce for market before branching out to bedding plants. When John went into the family business as a market gardener, the garden could be laid out with borders and more permanent planting with a large lawn for the children, explains Lynsey.
The passion for salvias came about more recently. We got hooked after running a course on Salvias for the Hampshire Plant Heritage group. Before that we only had a few but botanist, Jamie Compton, who ran the course rather inspired us, recalls Lynsey.
Their collection includes favourites such as Salvia curviflora, which is tender but covers itself with flowers; totally hardy blue-flowering transylvanica and half-hardy mexicana that looks particularly attractive next to a group of towering helianthus in the border. All the varieties have to cope with the vagaries of the weather and the nature of the site. We dont get any protection from the sea as Portsdown Hill is in the way and our soil is slightly acid and fairly free draining, not so good for this year and we hope we dont have any more winters like the last one again any time soon, adds Lynsey.
Lynsey and John open the garden through The National Gardens Scheme and as a National Collection holder by appointment for individuals and groups throughout the year. They also enjoy visiting gardens in the UK and abroad, with South Africa and Mexico unsurprisingly on their wish list for their next destinations.
Pay a visit
2 Hillside Cottages, North Boarhunt
Tel. 01329 832786
Admission 2.50, children free
Visitors welcome by appointment