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Regional Picks: Seasonal Combo—Southwest

Fine Gardening - Issue #193
Illustration: Elara Tanguy

1. Transylvanian Salvia

Transylvanian Salvia
Photo: Bill Johnson

Salvia transsylvanica

Zones: 5–9

Size: 24 to 30 inches tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Native range: Northern and central Russia to Romania

The world seems awash in purple-blue salvias that seed around and require DNA extraction for correct identification. Not so with Transylvanian salvia. This is one of the best and bluest salvias out there, with its distinctive broad arrowhead foliage and large hooded flowers. The first spires of rich blue-violet appear in midspring and continue for six weeks or more. When these are finished, a general deadheading of spent spikes will encourage new ones. After another round of blooms, you can trim back to the basal leaves if you like and another wave of blue will appear just in time to complement your late summer–early fall flower palette.


2. Desert Penstemon

Desert Penstemon
Photo: millettephotomedia.com

Penstemon pseudospectabilis

Zones: 5–9

Size: 3 feet tall and 2…

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