What's the most fragrant blue bloomer you can stick in your garden... that won't die no matter how hard you try?
I discovered Russian Sage quite by accident, on a hike in Zion National Park. We were hiking up to Angel's Landing.
And, I do mean up ~ as in up and up and up some more until you get to the top. That's where you use what little energy you have left to say, 'Oh, wow, what a view,' take a quick picture, and then hike back down.
I'm not really big on up. Especially when it's 106 degrees (F) outside and the person I'm hiking with will not stop complaining. But, that's actually how I met one of my favorite late-season bloomers.
While my hiking buddy was sound asleep in our air-conditioned hotel room, I was wandering the little town of Springfield. There I, quite literally, bumped into this tall, lacy, blue shrub. It gives off the most lovely fragrance when you brush up against it.
And, since it's blue. I had to have two!
So, I got up the nerve to knock on the gardener's door to find out just what kind of plant could flourish in triple digit temperatures, in ground that was dry as a bone.
"It's impossible to kill it," she said. "Oh, yeah? You don't know me," I responded. But, she was right. A long tap root on the mature plants helps it find enough water in the driest conditions.
Pretty Russian Sage peppers my garden in all the wrong places. I purposely plant it near walkways and porches so people can't avoid bumping into it. That's when it gives off it's strong fragrance, generally stopping people in their tracks. Pair it with Coneflowers and Rudbeckia.
If you're feeling really wild and crazy, plant some Pineapple Sage, too. This beacon for hummingbirds really does smell like pineapples ~ though it requires more water and will reseed itself at will. It's a wildflower from the high mountain elevations of Mexico.