Thanks to the drought, more salvia publications and articles, many people growing salvias and having success, salvias are finally getting the publicity they deserve when I am just about getting worn down and too old to have a nursery!! Don’t put off starting your salvia collection because I can’t be sure how many years I will be able to continue! There is no other source of such a large range in Australia, or rarely in the world.
Very few nurseries want to stock a large range of unknown plants because not enough people are adventurous with plants. People say they want unusual plants but it is hard to keep a nursery going from sales of ‘different’ plants to an educated minority. You are not likely to get a lot of choice in local nurseries unless a big wholesaler promotes them. You may be aware that nurseries are closing frequently so the selection gets smaller all the time. Therefore mail order is a good alternative.
I am able to offer a good mail order service because I live very close to a mail exchange where I can take parcels up to 7pm or so and they leave for Sydney etc that night. The post does go through over the weekend so I post Fridays mostly for South Australia or Queensland. NSW and Vic parcels arrive on the third day after just one full day in the post. Beware of public holidays slowing things down.
My plants are grown mostly in full sun so that they are very hardy, although they may not look as pristine as other nursery stock which is sprayed and cossetted and then left to cope with the realities of the real world when they are bought. The extremities of my weather are about minus 2 up to around 43C. Extremities are very hard for nursery plants to cope with often.
I do not encourage new gardeners to call in but serious travelling gardeners are usually acceptable but it is probably best to advise in advance. If I am home the nursery is generally open for people who are travelling. Monday is not a good day.
A lot of nurseries are selling incorrectly named salvias because not many people know what is what. Only nurseries specialising in their field are likely to be keen enough to keep the names right. If you want the correctly named plant you are more likely to get it from me or from keen members of the Salvia Association. I have introduced a lot of species to Australia and am always working on more.
I have made a CD with a huge amount of salvia photos in alphabetical order which is about the best available ID guide for Australia. Once the CD is open you only have to navigate down or up so it is easy even if you are not confident on a computer. I have a booklet for those who are computer challenged, Salvias in Australia, with growing information and identification of about 150 salvias. The CD is $20 post included and the booklet is mailed for a cost of $7. I am an enthusiast not a botanist and am trying to describe so that people with average experience will understand me.
Lavington is a northern suburb of Albury on the old Hume Highway, now definitely called Wagga Road. I am just one block behind the highway, turning left (from Sydney) around a Caltex Star 24 hour service station into Dick Road, and first left again into Boomerang Drive. Albury mostly uses the U.S. street numbering system and my street is only 2 blocks long although the house number is 369. Dick Road is where the highway goes from 2 lanes to 4 lanes from Sydney and reverse going to Sydney.
Coming south from Sydney you will be on the freeway. The simplest exit is Thurgoona (the second choice) and you will head in the Jindera direction (right) which takes you up to the old highway (Wagga Road). Turn left and go back towards Albury for about a kilometre.
Going north from Melbourne you can use the same exit turning left this time up to the old highway. You can also take the exit before,- Racecourse Road, going left and left again into Union Road – about a kilometre, turning right into Dick Road at the other end at a T junction. (There are a couple of shops on the right just before Dick Road.) You cannot use Racecourse Road exit to go north to Sydney or to come off going south! These days with all these GPS locating devices etc things are so much easier anyway.