Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Throne of Sage and Robe of Santolina- Simplicity Reigns

It could have been any day in the garden, clipping away at the fragrant wands of the Cleveland Sage. Its long arms look almost like a giant bent skewer piercing the olive green leaves and balls of purpley-blue flowers.

Then I heard the air whipped about by some small winged creature, The wings pushing the air beneath a tiny body in a relentless vibrato. I didn't look. Panic and fear rarely serve a gardener.

So I prayed "Oh please Lord, Not a bumble bee. Uncle Frank got bit by one and it nearly killed him."
I slowed my motions so not to frighten whatever was hovering ever closer to its target. Which with every passing moment I felt was me..

 Every few seconds, there was a pause in its forward motion. The wings would still and the creature fell a few inches like a helicopter with a stalled engine, only to sputter back into fearless flight.

I felt the soft feathered wings of a hummingbird kissing my cheek. 

The last time I was past this corner at Cal Poly, it was barren of character. Now the Cleveland Sage fills the corner like royalty on a throne. To her majesty's side, a patch of yellow flowered Santolina-probably rosmarinifolia S.virens- is strewn like the royal robe with its weave of bright green flowers leaves and knobby yellow flowers across the floor.

If you have a spot  with not much more to offer a garden as a home other than bare dirt and sunshine- this pairing has potential for the start of a romantic setting.


  1. That was so beautiful Lydia, today I got excited because I usually only have one hummingbird, but today it was two............love it!

  2. Lydia,

    That was sweet. It made me think of our "babies". Yup! John calls our hummers "my babies". The first thing he does when he gets home is go out and get the feeders and fill them. They swarm in the evenings before time for them to fly up to their tree branches for the night. He fills them again in the morning too. They are so sweet, fun to watch and great entertainment.

    XO Trisha

  3. Beautiful, but will it grow here? My luck is with Lavender and Rosemary.

    Sounds like the little hummer was saying hello to you. Could have been your mom stopping by. xo

  4. Very pretty. I have extra bold hummers in my neighborhood so I'm familiar with the sound of their beating wings. Glad you encountered one of these instead of a bee!

  5. Thank you to all who wrote back.

    Sue- This is what I found in the Sunset Garden Guide. Cleveland Sage is cold tollerant to 20 degrees. If that suits your climate- try it in a place with lots of sun and good drainage.

    USDA indicates this Santolina occurs naturally in France, Spain and Portugal. San Marcos Growers indicates the cold range on Santolina is greater-closer to 0 degrees- however, it may die back to ground in winter.

    I recall you mentioned a local friend who gardens. You might ask her if she knows of these plants in your region.

  6. I knew it was a Hummingbird! They are such swet sweet creatures! And I love when they come close, thinking you might be a flower....!
    Beautiful picture, Lydia....!


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