By Jannie Vaught
It is either in a specific herb garden or right along with all the vegetables. We often think of basil, chamomile, fennel, catnip, coriander, lavender, mint, summer savory, marjoram, tarragon, oregano, chervil, lovage, parsley, dill, lemongrass, verbena, rosemary, bay, melissa, hyssop, thyme, and the wide variety of sage. Sage is our simple, beautiful, and delicious cultivar today. Salvia Officinalis is one of the oldest cultivated herbs in the world. It is used as a seasoning and a tea, well known for its association with long life and good health. The genus Salvia is derived from the Latin word “salvere” which means “to heal.”Sage leaves have antibiotic properties, and sage tea is recommended as a digestive tonic and a cure-all for colds, and sore throats and as a mouthwash or gargle for mouth sores. Some will put the dried leaves on their pillow to promote deep sleep. In the Victorian era, stems of sage were placed in tiny aromatic bouquets known as “tussie-mussies” to symbolize long life. I think these were the first “aroma-therapies.” One of the most common uses is for seasonings. Stuffings, poultry, and sausage.
Think Thanksgiving without the aroma of sage dressing, pretty drab. I say Grow your own sage! This wonder can be grown easily to the growing zone 6. Purple culinary sage which has soft purple hues in its new leaves is hardy in zone 6, but plants with golden variety in their leaves may not survive winters north of zone 7. You can help their hardiness by planting them in a sheltered spot and providing protective mulch cover in cold weather, above that growing zone, they need to be brought inside for winter. They are perennial woody shrubs and will grow for many years with some tending and protection. And it is one of the herbs that the squirrels and chickens don’t seem to bother in my garden. They favor full sun and here I grow them in partial shade for water stability. They will need water on a regular schedule in the summer heat. Unlike their Wild sisters who thrive in desert and dry lands. Culinary sages need some friendly assistance. If you enjoy the flavor of sage in dressings you may like a few ground leaves in a savory scone or a biscuit. Expect heavy blue blooms in their second year, and you can take cuttings for propagation, with a nice branch cut off all but a few of the top leaves, dip in rooting powder, and place in the moist growing medium, a red solo cup with a clear cup turned upside-down make a little terrarium greenhouse will help it along they will root in 4 to 5 weeks so don’t give up they can be planted out as soon as a full root system is established, This works well when making rose cuttings also.
If you have sage in your herb garden you have a healing, savory plant that will be there for your medicine and dinner table.
Growing Green With Jannie