A year ago she and my dad went to the Sunset test gardens and saw Salvia 'Amistad.' It has the black calyxes of Salvia 'Black and Blue' with deep dusky purple flowers instead of hot blue.
My mom ran all over town trying to find it, finally locating it at Orchard Supply Hardware. All I could think at the time was, "I learned it by watching you!" Parents who plant lust have children with plant lust.
My mom planted a huge swath of Amistad right outside her kitchen window and it's GORGEOUS. And it's covered in hummingbirds all day long. Brava, mama.
I sort of forgot about it until Scott posted about the Garden Bloggers' Fling and their visit to the Sunset gardens and Salvia 'Amistad' (picture here). We decided to try our luck at Orchard Supply, which just opened in Oregon, only to immediately file for bankruptcy. This could be our last chance!
I decided to call OSH first, just to make sure they had it. At the Beaverton store the garden associate asked me, "What's a selvia?" After spelling it out he asked, "Is that like Sativa?" They didn't have it and I no longer had any faith in their garden department.
The Tigard store said, "Oh yeah, we have that."
"That specific cultivar?"
"What's the name again?"
We have blue and red. Is it one of those?"
So we skipped OSH and hit up Joy Creek, Means, Cistus, and Garden Fever instead. We didn't find Amistad but we found all sorts of other things to fill my backseat. I think it's fitting that "amistad" is Spanish for friendship. How many friendships have been forged over plant shopping trips?
That night I was at my friend Carrie's house and I looked at a new potted arrangement she had created. The salvia looked an awful lot like Amistad. Plant people are the best because she didn't even blink when I told her that I needed to know what that was RIGHT NOW. She dug out the tag and, sure enough, it was Amistad. She'd gotten it at the Fred Meyer grocery store right next to my house. The one I'm at every week.
Greg immediately chimed in, "You want to leave right now and go to Fred Meyer, don't you?" It was 9:30pm. He knows me so well. At least we know we can blame this one on genes!
Instead I waited like a normal person and went first thing Sunday morning and got one for me and one for Scott.
The stats: Hardy in zones 8-11. The stated size is 3-4' high by 3' wide but my mom's is much taller than that (hers is on a drip, which might help). Full sun or part shade and it's drought-tolerant, though salvias never seem to mind summer water. If you're in desperate need of one let me know and I'll pick one up for you. And thank you, Carrie, for unknowingly finding the Holy Grail.