Monday, September 7, 2009

Garden Bytes prize

At last, after a series of typically NYorkan missed connections, I was able to pick up the goody bag from a doorman on the Upper East Side. I looked up rather longingly at plants cascading over the edge of a high terrace above the entrance, sure this must be Ellen's work.The goody bag was in return for a picture of my terrace herbs submitted to the Garden Bytes Blue Ribbon Herb Contest.

In the bag were Betsy Clebsch's The New Book of Salvias: Timber Press, Portland, 2008 (and the reason I entered, thanks, Frank, for telling me), a pair of Oxo Good Grip Hand Shears, and my favourite green rubber-palmed gloves, branded by the National Garden Association. The salvia book contains a note addressed to Dear Reviewer, so I'm assuming the Garden Byters have done the honours, and that I don't need to. Nevertheless, it's lovely to open up at random and find:

"Salvia dentata"

"A small shrub with short twiggy branches, Salvia dentata has a limited habitat in western South Africa, just north of Cape Town. Found between the elevations of 2000 and 5000 is a plant of dry areas. Usually occurring on low granitic hillsides, dry and rocky slopes, and rock-strewn stream beds, this plant was described by William Aiton in 1789...

"This salvia is exceptional in many regards...[whose] merit lies in its overall appearance. Do not expect it to produce showy, colorful flowers but instead look for sparkling, medium blue flowers that fairly twinkle against the backdrop of gray-green leaves.

"...An open sunny bed might include two or three plants of S. dentata combined with the good green foliage of Origanum "Kent Beauty", Penstemon heterphyllus "Blue Bedder", and Thymus x citriodorus...All require good drainage, gritty and lean soil, and only occasional water."

There is a great deal more information, such as light frost-tolerant, and temperatures around 20'F (-5C) for more than a few hours, killing the plant.

A reference book that helps you design a planting bed. I like it.

Thank you, Garden Bytes. I shall don my gloves, plant a salvia and trim it with the Good Grips, all at once!

Footnote: The book makes me homesick. This is flower season in the Western and Northern Capes. Maybe I'll do a nostalgic post of flower trips from past years. If you have not visited South Africa in September to see flowers, and if you like plants, put it on your To Do List Before I Die (um, I don't actually have one myself, but seem to like telling peple what to do). I would describe my two visits, of 5 and 10 days respectively, as experiences of a lifetime.

They will be with me forever. Which might lead to a post about the value of good memories. I think they may be more important than the actual event itself. At least, they are a constantly paying investment.


  1. Congrats! Nice prize.
    -Frank (as preferred)

  2. Good memories... Not only do they give you good return on your investment but they don't follow market crashes and they always go up.

  3. A book of Salvias! (swoon...)
    I thought of you yesterday when I saw the first of the season's Adenium flowers about to open. Today, it's fully unfolded and the scent is delicious.
    You're right about some things being powerfully evocative, scents especially.

  4. congrats on your win! that's a nice load of prizes.

  5. I've wanted to make a botanical tour of South Africa for years. Why don't you put a trip together?!


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