Au Revoir, 'Hot Lips'

I planted Salvia 'Hot Lips' from a 4" pot in March of 2013.

 photo nu2690_zpsa4d017fd.jpg

By last fall it was a globe 40" (1 M) tall and wide.  Healthy, happy, bloomy.  By this spring it was starting to spread further, by its roots.  Too happy.  I dug it out a couple of days ago.  Sometimes plants fail, sometimes they overthrive.  I'm still pulling Cercis seedlings, several years after I dug out the trees that produced oh-too-many seeds.  
Some plants get away with overachieving.  This Fuchsia (on the left) extends out about five feet too far--one must squeeze around it to get by--but the root system is not invading surrounding plants.   

Sometimes plants are just right--the right size, the right passion for blooming, health--but we put them in the wrong place.  So we move them, and they are never quite as good in their new spot.   
Next winter, baby, you have a moving appointment with the shovel.  Don't be mad. 
Some plants are just the right size, healthy, happy, but don't bloom enough.  'Evelyn', I'm looking at you, you stingy diva.  
But then you do this, and all is forgiven.  Again.  For a while. 
Rosa 'Evelyn' photo 4-27-6273_zps162daa23.jpg
Some plants are healthy, bloomy, well-behaved, but found delicious by wildlife, so they end up with stupid little fences around them, their ornamental value essentially lost.  Grrr.
Erigonum 'Rosy Cushion'
  Hey!  Quit smirking!
There are plants that are healthy and well behaved, ignored by bugs and rabbits, plants with which you are besotted, that die suddenly and without explanation.  Then you buy them again because you cannot bear to not try again, and discover--where in heavens are they going to look right instead of like a 1,000 watt streetlight on a dark night?
Yep, Stachys 'Bello Grigio':
 But back to the demise of 'Hot Lips'.  After cutting most of its massiveness out... 
Oh, hey!  There were two daylillies and a rose there, under all that Salvia.  There they are again.
 Out it came.  Roots were running into surrounding roses.  New plants were forming several feet away from the original. 
That's a no-no.  
The extraction however revealed something rare and magical and wonderful.  Space for a new plant!  A space that demands a trip to the new plant store!  Merci beaucoup, 'Hot Lips'!
The more plants misbehave, the more fun we have (except the digging up part). 

Comments

  1. My 'Hot Lips' experience is the same as yours. I removed two last year. Still one left. I know others gardeners who have fallen out of love with it because it's such a beast.

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    1. A beast, yes. Also the proportion of plant to flower--tiny dainty flowers don't belong on a plant the size of a moose.

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  2. Very funny. Got lots of laughs. Also some beautiful pictures. I especially like #3 (for Flag Day, Fourth of July?) and the last one. I have a lily like that doing that same thing. Do you have a name for it? I didn't buy a white one, but that's what I got.

    Out in the wild places like Santa Fe Dam floodplains, cholla (pencil cactus) and opuntia are called nurse plants. New young plants of all kinds like eriogonums and blue wild hyacinth grow under the protection of the spiny cactus where the rabbits don't go. Very lovely in the spring. You could lay some old cactus pieces down or plant some new ones to protect your pretty buckwheat.

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    1. Oh yes, I guess it is red white & blue. Never thought of that. The lily was from the South Coast Plaza garden show about three or four years ago from B&D lillies. They were going to call it 'Costa Mesa'--I don't know if the lily people approved that name or not.

      What I really need is a nice, hungry coyote, but I did get an opuntia pad from a garden buddy...

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  3. Oh Evelyn..I wept a little internally when dug her up a few years ago. She was a lemon through and through. I felt worse when I dug up Abraham Darby though. Sigh
    Say , that Fuchsia area looks mighty nice ! Is that A. 'Black Adder' there ?

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    1. 'Blue Fortune'. I've pulled out too many 'Abraham Darby's myself. :(

      Lucky for 'Evelyn; she's too big to pull out easily. However, there may come a day...

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  4. Hi Gail, I had similar problems with salvia 'Black and Blue'! Very attractive, gorgeous flowers, but it spread like a weed in my front yard and I had to dig it out. It actually took two years to remove it completely from the yard, since every little piece of root left in the ground did want to become a new plant.
    I love your hydrangea. It looks fantastic. May I ask what variety that is?
    I also really admire your Stachys 'Bello Grigio'. I remember it from a previous post. I would be perfect for my white, gray and silver garden bed.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. I'm still trying to get rid of 'Black and Blue'. It's been years. Neither of us will give up. That is Hydrangea 'Endless Summer'. It's been an excellent hydrangea, doesn't get huge...

      Yes I think 'Bello Grigio' would look outstanding in your white garden. It's a bit touchy, may need attentive watering during extreme heat waves, but oh so fabulous.

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  5. I've never Hot Lips that big before, it certainly loved your garden! It's fascinating to see how one's garden evolves and the changes that happen in time, all part and parcel of this thing called gardening :)

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    1. This wonderful, wonderful thing called gardening!

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  6. While I like the idea of having a plant-whisperer on hand to tell me exactly where I should put what, I expect you're right that the challenge and joy of gardening derives from the ongoing process of learning, correcting and revising. I didn't realize you have visiting rabbits - they're worse than raccoons, I bet (even if they are very cute).

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    1. No, they are not worse than raccoons. Squirrels are, though. Grrrr! I wish the rabbits would just visit instead of moving in and making themselves at home.

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  7. I wish I could get Salvias thriving here, they never get past a winter. Cuttings this year I think. Your garden just looks magnificent. You've performed miracles, not least with a drought to contend with. Cute bunny too.. ;)

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    1. Bunnies only eat favorite plants, you know. They read minds. Surely there is a salvia that will work for you...there are 900 some species! As to the garden, a month of cool, overcast weather is the miracle.

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    2. Try S. 'Caradonna' and S. 'Mai Nacht'. Both of those were hardy where I lived in Sweden. :)

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    3. Thanks, I will. It's the winter wet as well as the cold that does for them I think.

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  8. Hooray for a trip to the new plant store! Sometimes just making threats of the shovel or compost bin to an under achieving plant is enough to make it shape up.

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    1. Yes, a shovel set near an underperformaer works wonders--but then no trip to the new plant store!

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  9. It's so interesting to read about your troubles with 'Hot Lips' down there in California. Up here, they slowly decline and fade away. I searched and searched for that Stachys last year after seeing it in so many gardens, finally got one this year, and...yeah, what do I do with it? Hooray for more space for plants!

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    1. I found the Stachys looks great amidst white-flowering plants--roses, for example.

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  10. The silver lining...a place for a new plant! I like your outlook! I have had to remove plants that are overachievers far exceeding the size they are suppose to get. Such is life in a happy garden!

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  11. Your garden looks fabulous - that last photo is killer! I had the same exact thing happen with my Bella Grigio, that you did. It seemed to do just fine through winter, and then it croaked, just when I thought we were home free. Have no idea why... But, like you, I'm trying again. I figured out that it's a great combo with Amsonia - finally! I'd been looking high and low for something that makes those wimpy light blue flowers pop!

    Did I spot the orange handle of a Fiskars garden fork? I have one too, and I love it!

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    1. No, it's a Craftsman shovel. I destroyed my garden fork a couple of tree stumps ago. White and blue flowers with the Bello Grigio look good. Mine was apparently thriving until we got a particularly brutal heat wave in late summer--it may have been insufficiently established and the heat carried it off--it was so hot I couldn't bear to go outside and it got no water for several 100F days. Ah, well, maybe these will be stronger.

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  12. Beautiful photos of your garden dear Hoover, oh how I wish some of my plants would over-thrive, not in this terrible soil/dust of mine they won't.
    So I guess I should plant my Salvia in a pot just in case it does start to invade other plants. You have a good excuse to visit the garden centre now. :-)
    xoxoxo ♡

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  13. Your hot lips puckered up and tried to kiss the world, my hot lips got all prim. Results were the same: no hot lips in these gardens.

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  14. Sigh !!!!! Alas I understand the hot lips troubles. Such a beautiful plant! Did well her first season here in North Texas, but very ratty this year with all of the rains.........AND she has already swallowed two of my Stella D'Oro daylilies!!! Will try digging her out and potting her up this fall. Me want one of those stachys!!!!
    Keep on thrilling us Hoovb. I look forward to this blog every day.

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    1. HL will take a pruning and come back strong--at least here...

      Yes, I love that Stachys--hopefully they won't die like the first on did.

      Thanks for visiting! Gives me a reason to continue. :)

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