This is plant that provides a gentle reminder to always be a patient gardener.  When I first grew it  I had a sense that it was going to be disappointing and would end up in the compost.  By the middle of September there was no sign of flowers but then, within a two-week period, it had sent up 30cm-long flower spikes that were covered in dark raspberry buds.   The flowers are white with just a hint of pink bled through them and are the texture of velour.  Waiting was worthwhile: it is a beautiful plant.

A hybrid between Salvia leucantha and Salvia chiapensis, it was raised in California.  It won’t survive the winter in Britain, so take cuttings or grow it in a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory.