This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In response to the query of a correspondent, in the January number, asking for some information about the new blue Salvia splendens (?), I beg to report as follows: In the spring of 1879, a Boston florist sent me what he called a blue Salvia splendens. When it came it was easy to see at a glance that it was of an entirely distinct species from S. splendens. It was planted out in May, and by August it had got to a height of eight feet and nearly as much in diameter, - a coarse growing, weed-like plant, with an insignificant spike of blue flowers, far from "splendid".
I once was unfortunate enough in the earlier part of my business career, to send out just such another new Salvia. I happened to sell a plant to one of my best customers, who gave it as a valuable present to a New York friend, who owned a 7 x 9 city yard. It soon took complete possession. The city man thought his friend had played a practical joke on him, and he in turn emptied his vials of wrath on my head.
Another "blue" Salvia splendens was sent to us by a Western firm. This time we did get a variety of Salvia splendens, but not a,blue, but still a great acquisition, the variety being a rich shade of crimson maroon, entirely distinct from anything we had before seen in Salvia splendens. The habit of growth and size of flower spike is identical with the well-known Scarlet Sage, and its crimson maroon color will make a fine contrast with that variety. This new Salvia is known as Mrs. Stevens, though it is well worthy of a distinguishing botanical term. I am not at all sanguine of ever seeing a variety of S. splendens of the color of Salvia patens, which is one of our best types of blue color in flowers.