Sorry -- but I'm just a WEE bit cranky at the moment. Spring has sprung -- which means summer isn't all that far off -- and that means it's time to plan out the summer flowerbeds.
What on earth does a flower garden have to do with vegetable gardening? Easy! Flowers attract beneficials like butterlies and BEES -- and Bill &Venus need BEES to pollinate those wonderful melon vines and citrus trees.
Otherwise -- no summer martini for you!
But -- I digress. Summer flowerbeds are the BOMB. The best and most vibrant colors come from a summer flower garden. One of my personal favorites is a design called the "Rainbow of Colors."
It's tough to find this exact design online -- but here's a picture of what it looked like in the front yard of our first home in North Natomas. I can't remember exactly who sent me this design -- except that it came with a packet of other flower garden designs that I received in the mail shortly after purchasing my first home in Madera, CA in 1993.
Yes -- I lived in Madera. So what? Why are you snickering?
There's nothing better -- in my humble opinion -- than the Rainbow of Color Flower design. I've tried several -- but I keep on coming back to this one. There's just something about the color show -- and it puts on quite a show during those hot summer months of July and August.
The most famous part of the Rainbow of Color design? Again, in my humble opinion, it's got to be the all important S-CURVE. The curve is made up of one of my personal favorites in the flower garden: the Victoria Blue Salvia. The latin name for this old-time favorite is Salvia farinacea. A more common name that some gardeners might recognize is Mealy-cup sage.
There was a day -- a time -- an age -- where you could find Victoria Blue Salvia in just about any nursery. Heck -- the Big Box Stores like Home Depot carried this stuff by the flats. You could walk out with enough Victoria Blue to create your own -- personal -- 100 yard Rainbow of Color patch.
Sadly my friends -- those days are long gone. It seems that our common friend -- our mealy-cup sage -- has become the newest and latest target of the young and the dumb. That's right -- the kids are after MY S-CURVE. Not because the young and the dumb are suddenly into creating a Rainbow of Color Flower Garden.
Nope -- they're smoking it.
Say again? Did you say what I thought you said? Smoking it?
Yes -- it's true. They're not only smoking it. They're chewing on the leaves. You laugh? I would join you -- except it's TRUE.
Our little Victoria Blue is under assault. And the thing is -- the kids aren't even getting it right! They're confused! Then again -- if they're dumb enough to light up some Salvia farinacea -- they're probably too far gone to understand that they're lighting up with or chewing on the wrong weed.
Victoria Blue salvia is a member of the mint family, which is characterized by square stems and an aromatic fragrance. The salvia genus is a large group within this family that includes more than 900 species of shrubs, herbs, herbaceous perennials and annuals. Salvia comes from salveo, which means "save," referring to the medicinal value associated with this genus.
Unfortunately, it has also been confused with another species called Salvia divinorum. Also known as Diviner's Sage, Salvia divinorum and Salvia farinacea are two completely different plants altogether. However -- they do share a common trait.
Unless you have a practiced eye, you can't tell them apart.
What is Salvia divinorum? It's a is a psychoactive plant which can induce intense feelings of joy -- sadness -- fits of laughter and other altered states. It's certainly nothing new in terms of a drug. It's been around for awhile.
But it's suddenly become the "designer" drug to have among the young and dumb. You can witness these kids posting up on the subject in various chat rooms -- and most have absolutely NO CLUE of what they are doing. But most often -- they write something dumb like "I've got to have some." And suddenly -- there's a big chunk missing out of MY S-CURVE at home!
What does this mean? It means the young and dumb are targeting MY S-CURVE! Even though -- it's the wrong thing ENTIRELY! Who says kids read labels anyway? My S-Curve is to be "admired" from the street. It's not meant to be dried -- rolled -- chewed -- stuffed into a pipe or smoked. How do I know these terms?
From exp -- NEVERMIND!
I know what this means. Suddenly -- Victoria Blue Salvia is going to be HARD to find this year. Once a flat or two gets put out for sale -- a bunch of kids show up and it's suddenly GONE LIKE THE WIND.
I would grow it at home -- like I do with my tomato and pepper plant starters -- but that just screams for a surprise daytime visit by some uninvited guests. No -- I'll have to do what I do every year -- which is call around various nurseries -- looking for an available six-pack or two.
And if I'm lucky enough to find that -- it means I'm standing guard doing shotgun duty for the rest of the summer.