IN THE YARD: Hot Lips salvia

What a nice plant it is that looks pretty most of the year, is a little unusual-looking and requires practically no care.

The Hot Lips salvia is flirtatiously named for the bright scarlet at the top of the little flower, on petals shaped like the cupid’s bow of the upper lip. The rest of the flower is a pure white that brightly sets off the little blooms against their green foliage.

The compact, perennial shrub that grows to a height of about 3 feet to 4 feet likes full- to part-sun and is tolerant to drought.

It’s said that when the leaves are crushed, there’s a nice, mint-like fragrance, but I must admit that in all the years that Hot Lips salvia has bloomed alongside my fence, I’ve never tried that.

BIRDS AT HOME It appears there’s a science to situating a birdhouse.

If it’s too hot to get out in the garden much these days, maybe it would be nice to stay cool indoors, gaze out at the lawn and consider the best spot for birds to shelter.

In an article for the Palouse Audubon Society that serves regions of Idaho and Washington, author Tom Weber tells of the measures to consider for a birdhouse wherever you live:

Ellyn Couvillion

Advocate staff writer