The result was Salvia 'Love & Wishes', marketed by independent plant breeders' agent Plants for Europe. It is a compact and free-flowering plant, with rich claret coloured blooms that are produced continuously from May until frost - up to six months of flowers.
The plant is neat, bushy and has good branching, even without pinching. It is easy to grow in a tub or mixed container but can also be used as a bedding plant in the border, enjoying a sunny position. Spent flowers simply fall away, so no deadheading is required, and there are no pest and disease issues.
Since the plant was launched by Plants for Europe in conjunction with Dyson Salvias at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, nearly 50,000 have been sold. In 2016, sales are expected to exceed 150,000 plants.
After Chelsea last year, Plants for Europe partnered with Kernock Park Plants and Darby Nursery Stock to launch the variety at the HTA National Plant Show, while Kernock and Wyevale Nurseries helped to launch it at the Four Oaks Trade Show, in each case picking up awards. Salvia 'Love & Wishes' also picked up a silver medal in the novelties competition at Plantarium.
Supporting these successes has been a strong marketing effort, including social media campaigns and excellent photography, which has helped the new variety to feature in countless magazine, newspaper and online articles.