On a recent drive back from the other side of the state, we stopped at a nursery in Orlando known for its wide selection of butterfly-friendly flowers. There, we discovered a new salvia hybrid known as "Wendy's Wish", and fell in love immediately.
Wendy's Wish is an "accidental" hybrid. According to Sharon Cohoon, "'Wendy's Wish' was discovered in the garden of Wendy Smith, a Salvia hobbyist, in Victoria, Australia in 2005. Its exact parentage is unknown but Salvia buchananii, Salvia chiapensis, and Salvia `Purple Majesty' were all in the neighborhood so are likely suspects."
We have a bit of a salvia passion in My Florida Backyard. With very few exceptions, they are wonderful for attracting both butterflies and hummingbirds. They are easy to care for, and many of them reseed readily. It seems there are always new varieties to discover, and while they don't all do well in Central Florida, Wendy's Wish should be well suited to thrive here. It's cold hardy to about 25 degrees, and has a long flowering season. Growing experts note that those in hot climates may want to give it a little shade in the hottest part of the day, so we planted ours where it can get some afternoon shade in the summer.
We look forward to seeing how this newly-available species does in our yard. We'll watch it to be sure it doesn't become invasive, and if it can stand the summer heat and humidity. For now, it's obvious that Wendy's Wish loves spring in Central Florida just as much as we do!