I don’t know how many Salvias there are, but I am always finding new ones.

Salvia wagneriana, winter flowering sage in San Francisco Botanical Garden

I recently went to San Francisco Botanical Garden in search of winter flowers.  I knew the grand deciduous magnolias would be starting to bloom and the camellias would be coming in, but I did not expect to see Salvia wagnerian, a native of Central America in full bloom.

In her classic, A Book of Salvias, Betsy Clebsch says the winter flowers of Wagner’s Sage are brought to bloom by the shorter days, and what a treat they are. And what a delicious color, somewhere between fuchsia and magenta.

When I first came across this large shrubby plant I shot a quick photograph straight on, then begin to study its form.

Salvia wagneriana, winter flowering sage in San Francisco Botanical Garden

The straight on shot says nothing about the arching form or the flowers blooming continually along the branches. A side view does that.

Salvia wagneriana, winter flowering sage in San Francisco Botanical Garden

Consider a plant before taking its portrait. Learn something of its character, something distinctive that you can communicate to your audience. Study the plant and find a story to tell. Every plant has something special which will vary with the time of year, the setting, and in the light.

Today’s Tip: Spend some time with plants before photographing them, make them your friend, get acquainted, and you will make a better photograph.

In my third garden photography e-book, Think Like a Gardener, there is a entire chapter on photographing plants. $9.95 in the Store.

For those of you now lusting for this plant, you must know it needs a relatively warm, wet, and frost free environment. Fine for a winter in San Francisco.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This Salvia is beautiful and I wish it would grow happily in Canon City, but it appears it would be unhappy, so I’ll simply enjoy it from your photos! Hope all is well in your world, Saxon. I always enjoy your posts. With Green Thoughts, Tammi

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