Garden curator aims for UK's largest collection of Mexican Salvias

The curator of a well-known garden is to plant what he hopes will be the largest collection of shrubby Mexican Salvias in the country.

Gardeners get planting at Great Comp Garden
Gardeners get planting at Great Comp Garden

William Dyson said he hoped the new border would engage visitors to Great Comp Garden in Platt, near Sevenoaks, Kent.

He has been growing and cultivating Salvias for more than 20 years, particularly those from the
New World. Dyson has cultivated more than 200 hybrids and species.

The sandy soil and mild south eastern climate enjoyed by the 3ha garden enabled him to build up his collection. He recently helped RHS Wisley with its shrubby Salvia trial.

"The trials utilising many of my hybrids developed in Kent has proved what an amazing plant it is - the plants produce a multitude of flowers and persevere to get through our south-east winter."

In the past Dyson has mixed Salvias in the formal borders at Great Comp with Penstemons, ornamental grasses, Sedum, Red Hot Pokers and Dahlias.

"If you’ve got a sunny spot, and as long as there’s enough room, you can mix them in with a great variety of plants to produce lovely visual changes in texture, shape, size and colour.

"My interest really kicked off in the early 1990s when botanist James Compton discovered a hybrid
derived from two species, Salvia microphylla and S. greggii growing in the Sierre Madre."

Great Comp Garden is the quirky creation of the late Roderick and Joy Cameron who moved from London to the 17th Century Manor in 1957.

Their eccentric hideaway include an Italian Garden, explorable ruins and a garden that now boasts one of the best displays of Magnolias, Azaleas, Salvias, Crocosmias, Dahlias and other exotics.


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