Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Surprising Returnee May 13, 2009

Poking around down in my parking strip garden the other day, I was more than a little surprised to see this:

Golden pineapple sage returning

Pineapple sage, golden or not, is a somewhat tender perennial in our climate and often does not return in the spring, at least not in my garden (my American Horticultural Society plant book says it’s native to Mexico and Guatemala). And yet, here it is, the golden variety I planted in my daughter’s tiny veggie/flower/herb patch on the street, a little singed but sprouting out nonetheless. Maybe I have not waited long enough to pull out what I figured was a dead root ball in previous years (current laziness has its benefits??). I looked down at the other end of the strip and the regular (green) pineapple sage is coming up there too. No sign of the tangerine sage I had planted up near the house, maybe its more exposed position left it more vulnerable. All of these salvias have wonderful-smelling leaves and their late-blooming red tubular flowers are total hummingbird magnets. I’ve always grown them since I discovered them years ago – I consider them essential in my garden and so don’t mind replacing them when necessary. But I’m so delighted these ones decided to return!

Have you had any happy surprises in your garden this spring?

(PS The white stuff in the photo above is soggy fallen crabapple petals.)

(PPS The plant tag on this one says Savlia elegans, but Pineapple sage is technically S. rutilans, so I’m not sure which is correct for this variety, ‘Golden Delicious’. Sorry!)


10 Responses to “Surprising Returnee”

  1. Grace Says:

    Hi~~ What a surprise, especially after our unfriendly winter. I’m a nut for Salvias and surprisingly my marginally hardy S. microphyllas made it too. (La Trinidad Pink and Hot Lips) I dumped about six inches of leaves and stuck buckets over them during the worst of it in hopes of a resurrection. In February-ish, I removed the leaves and buckets and they looked deader than a doornail. But slowly green leaves emerged and voila. I didn’t plant pineapple sage last year but I’ve got two plants for this year so maybe with a little TLC I can winter over those as well.

    I wonder if they will bloom earlier.

  2. Aerie-el Says:

    What a sweet surprise, especially in your daughter’s part of the garden!
    I am surprised and relieved to see my two hardy fuchsias, and my chocolate cosmos are coming back. I was sure they were toast. Unfortunately much of my rosemary is.

  3. easygardener Says:

    I’ve just bought a Salvia elegans ‘Tangerine’ and looked up the name just to check because I remembered S. rutilans from years ago. I also wasn’t sure if the Pineapple and Tangerine Salvias were different plants – apparently they are. ( I used the Royal Horticultural Society plant guide).
    Apparently the name S. elegans ‘Scarlet Pineapple’ has superseded S. rutilans – don’t ask me why šŸ™‚
    I’ll have to keep mine in a pot as it’s not hardy. I also need to get the Pineapple one to check out the difference! I didn’t know there was a golden leaved variety. Perhaps I’ll buy that too. I’m on a roll!

  4. Tatyana Says:

    Hi Karen! What a pleasant surprise! As for me, I am happy to see new Aralia japonica growing near the root of the big plant. I have three of them. One died after this long wet winter, that is why I am so happy! Replacement is coming!

  5. Racquel Says:

    What a happy surprise. I just planted the typical Pineapple Sage this spring. Your golden variety looks like something I should try too. I was happy to see my Gentian & Black & Blue Salvia return. According to the labels from Lowe’s their annuals. I guess not. šŸ™‚

  6. Ginger Says:

    Our pineapple sage came back, too! (well, three out of the four, which is a more balanced number anyway). Also, the Allium seeded itself around last year, but most of the tiny sprouts disappeared after a month or so. I was so excited to see that they hadn’t died, as there are a number of obviously two-year old little alliums (and again, a TON of tiny baby ones). They won’t bloom for another year or two, but since the original bulbs were kind of expensive, it’s nice to have more! Several of the Dierama pulcherrimum that seeded last year have come back this year, too.

  7. Lorene Says:

    That’s part of the wonder of gardening is its ability to continually surprise us and the wonderment of nature’s resiliency! Pineapple sage is delicious minced up in fruit salad…maybe if I serve it more often a bit of that “native resiliency” will rub off on me – I could use it.
    Marvel on… Lorene

  8. What a nice surprise, especially after this cold winter. May many hummingbirds visit your little, tough sage this summer!

  9. Megan Says:

    So there is still hope for stuff that hasn’t returned yet? I’m trying to be patient, but it’s not easy. Congratulations on the return of these little guys!

  10. Jen Says:

    I’m kinda surprised that my marigolds didn’t sprout. I painstakingly saved the seeds from last year and put them in peat pots – nothing! But some alcea (hollyhock) that I thought was a goner is looking great. Enjoy that pretty sage!

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