It is also a favourite of broadscaster Pippa Greenwood "I'm a great fan of the hardier salvias. Even before the buds open they are attractive plants with erect stems, often with aromatic foliage and forming a sort of clump of exclamation marks.
"Then when the flowers appear, usually in shades of violet, purple, pink or white, they can bring any sunny border to life instantly. Provide these plants with a well-drained but humus-rich soil and plenty of sun and they are easy to grow...seriously rewarding and....simply gorgeous."
The HTA recommends Salvia Hot Lips, Salvia Seascape, Salvia Firecracker, Salvia Amistad, Salvia Black and Salvia Blue. The HTA says the plant is equally suitable for retailers and landscapers.
August plant of the month will be hydrangea, championed by Katie Melua.
September is Japanese anemone with Jason Ingram. October is conifers by Alex Gregory, November trees with Christine Walkden and December sarcoccoa with Mak Gilchrist.