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!)