Years ago, before I ever knew that plants were going to be more than just a passion, but also my life’s work, I watched a “Home and/or Garden” show on television. I don’t remember the name of the show, what channel it was on, or even who the gardener was, other than it was a woman, but I got this idea from her some fifteen or twenty years ago. On either side of the entrance to I believe it was the kitchen/back door, she had planted beautiful Lavenders that were, during the taping, in full glorious bloom. Unfortunately, I learned very quickly that in Minnesota you can’t reliably grow most varieties of lavender and the varieties that we can work with tend to be lower and, lets say, less organized. So, I went in search of a replacement. That is when I found Russian Sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia. What an excellent substitute! It’s zone hardy, deer resistant and long blooming. It also provides long lasting, fragrant, purple-blue flowers as well as fragrant, silvery grey-green foliage. On top of all these wonderful attributes Russian Sage will grow in just about any well drained soil.
As I was learning about Russian Sage “way back when” it didn’t seemed like there were a whole lot of varietal options. Now we have ‘Little Spire’ which offers a more compact plant at around 3′ in comparison to the standard which grows 4-5′. And our newest variety of Russian Sage at the nursery, Proven Winner ‘Peek-a-Blue’ which is even more compact and denser yet. That one tops out just over 2′ at 24-28”. Any of these plants would make a gorgeous perennial hedge or as pop of airy color here and there in a prairie or cottage garden. Just pick the right size for your project!