Salvia: A Variety That Should Be Forbidden

The sage is altogether an amiable plant; indeed, its Latin name, Salvia, comes from salvere, to save, or heal, and one of its nicknames is S. slavatrix, which sounds very reassuring….The garden sages are useful for the herbaceous border.  I do not mean that half-hardy bedding-out plant beloved of the makers of public gardens, S. splendens, which should be forbidden by law to all but the most skilful handlers.

-Vita Sackville-West
A Joy of Gardening, 1958

Pictured above: Salvia Splendens (Wikipedia)

I can see what she means about this Salvia Splendens.   I was thinking I would plant some annual salvia in my pots this summer.  But rather I was picturing the purple long stems of Salvia Cathedral.

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the only colors I can tolerate right now are subtle.  I seem be drawn to purple, white and yellow.   It’s different every year.  It just comes over me and I must immerse myself in certain colors.  One year I planted only red, white and blue flowers.  I was going for an all American theme that time, I thought it looked very cool.


There is also a perennial Salvia, Foglers has a good batch right now.  In fact, they have good healthy lot of many things.  I would advise checking them out.  But if you are looking for the annual Salvia which is the focus of this post, I would go to Bordine’s.  They’re batch is looking very healthy, as you can see from the photos.

Whether it’s a fragrance or a hedge to keep out the bunnies, or if the plants can be harvested in someway, dried and be given as a gift or kept for your own enjoyment, or cooking, what have you, it is all the better if they can be of use in some way.  When I choose flowers, shrubs or trees, I try my best to adhere to this rule.  They can’t just sit and look pretty, they have to do something for me.  Salvia fits perfectly into the arena of “provider”.

Salvia, can give pleasant dried batches of color that last all winter long.  Simply harvest the amount of stems you would like, tie them together and hang them upside down in your kitchen or mudroom and they make for a nice display while slowly expending their moisture.  You really can’t go wrong.  My Grandmother will dry a little batch of her Salvia and present them to me in the fall tied with a precious twine bow.  It makes for a dainty gift of care and effort.



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