This Mexican bush sage was extremely show-off-y this weekend in the fragrance garden of Red Butte. Woody stems, velvet petals and leaves that smelled like currants when rubbed: what more is there to like?
According to the botanical label:
Dwarf velvet sage, Savia Leucantha “Santa Barbara” mint family. “the rose lavender flowers contrast well with the white stems and the dark green leaves”. Full sun, moderate water zone 8-10.
The zone requirement seems to doom the plant for a Salt Lake garden but according to this forum, some have succeeded in protecting the plant enough to overwinter. The key seems to find a specimen as early as possible to get it well established before the frost. I imagine that much like lemon verbena (cut back to the ground and mulched) there is a 50% chance of resurrection.
At the garden it grows inside a “balcony” in a north facing stone wall. The stone probably retains the heat well and lets the plants survive from year to year. Note to self: revisit the site in the spring.