'Rhea' Mealy-cup Sage
or Blue Salvia
"Sing, for it may be that your thoughts have plucked
Some medicable herb to make our grief
-William Butler Yeats
While Salvia farinacea 'Rhea' is not quite the equal of the startlingly luminescent blue 'Victoria Blue' Mealy-cup, 'Rhea' is nevertheless a very close second-best, with tall spikes of soft deepest blue flowers, to two feet tall or taller.
The clump can spread quite wide after a couple years, but only if grown in climates further south. In Pacific Northwest coastal gardens it is grown as a border annual, as it is rare that it survives even our moderate winters. Cuttings can be taken & rooted, & kept indoors until the following spring, for in our zone it has to be replanted each year.
Native to the American Southwest, during its brief year in a northern garden, it flowers continuously from June until the first really hard frost, then dies to the ground never to return.
We used it as a large fill-in plant amidst longer-lived perennials that will long outlive the Mealy-cup sage, these other clumps needing more space in future years.
It is named for the Earthmother Rhea (Cybele), for what reason I've no idea, except that herbs in general were sacred to Rhea. Or perhaps someone thought Salvia 'Rhea' made a nice pun on Rhea Sylvia, the mother of Romulus & Remus.
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