One of the plants that didn’t quite make it into the coveted top three positions at this year’s Chelsea Plant of The Year competition was the new salvia ‘Kisses and Wishes’.
The fourth in an unusual series of half-hardy salvias for containers and sunny borders that began with the discovery of ‘Wendy’s Wish’ in Australia in 2005, the universally popular soft pink colouring of ‘Kisses and Wishes’ was much admired at Chelsea.
The story began with the discovery of an unusual seedling under a plant of Salvia mexicana 'Lolly' in the garden of Wendy Smith in Victoria, Australia. Thought to be a hybrid with S. splendens ‘Lighthouse Red’, or perhaps S. buchanani or S. chiapensis ‘Purple Majesty’, the deep magenta flowers keep coming for months.
Later, also in Australia, ‘Wendy’s Wish’ sported to produce ‘Ember’s Wish’ (with orange-red flowers) and then ‘Love and Wishes’ (dark purplish red) was the result of a deliberate cross.
Now we have a new sport with attractive rose-pink flowers, but the same long season. ‘Kisses and Wishes’ was discovered in the garden of Sarah Jane Knott of Southwater, West Sussex, in 2015. Reaching about 75cm in height and flowering constantly from May to October, the rose pink flowers are prettily streaked in a slightly darker shade.
It has been assessed by Robin Dyson, one of the world’s leading experts on salvias at his nursery in Kent and he reports: “We have been very impressed by both its stability and distinct colour.”
Salvia ‘Kisses and Wishes’ is available from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.
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