When I look out the front window of my apartment, I see my container garden, which is the only garden I am likely to have in the future. For years I had a garden on a suburban lot, but time and chance changed that.
Constrained by space, I declared “Herbs First”. Then I added the “Rose of Montezuma”, Antigonon leptopus, which now climbs my screen. And the Prairie Fameflower, and geraniums that never fail. Here grows my old “Caldwell Pink” rose, a refugee from my lost garden, and an antique cultivar rescued from oblivion by the Antique Rose Emporium.
The photo shows, in the foreground, the wine colored Salvia “Wendy’s Wish” and the Mexican Petunia, a Ruellia which was hardy in my old suburban garden. At any time, from dawn to dark, I can look out my window and see them dancing and swaying to the rhythm of the bees. A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird visited this morning, ignoring my feeders. Hanging hummingbird feeders is like carrying coals to Newcastle if one has salvias in bloom.
The “Wendy’s Wish” is a lesson to all gardeners to stay observant. It was a chance hybrid found in an Australian garden. It may have Salvia mexicana as a parent, but who knows or will ever know. Plants lead secret lives unknown to us. Their romances are discrete. But if we are alert, we may find their offspring sporting some new color or habit.
Mexican plants do well in Tennessee’s summer heat. The day I took this photo the temperature went to 109 degrees. More appropriate to the Sonoran Desert than to Nashville.
My best reference for studying Mexican plants is Cecile Matschat’s 1935 “Mexican Plants for American Gardens”. I bought my copy from Elizabeth Woodburn Books, but one could probably find it on Bookfinder or Amazon. And since plant exploration in Mexico never ceases, the Yucca Do Nursery catalog may list interesting new finds.