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The Blue Sage

The Blue Sage

The Blue Sage, or salvia, was in declining popularity by the late Victorian age. According to Hibberd it needed to be grown in the glasshouse or hotbed, which may have contributed to its decline as gardeners looked for more easily grown plants which did not need expensive equipment.

Salvia patens could be raised from seed sown in sandy seed trays early in February, then placed in a heated glasshouse or on a common hotbed. Repotted into pots by mid-May, they could then be transferred to cold frames where they could be exposed to more garden air by slow degrees. By June they might be planted out into the garden if the weather was warm enough.

The plants could be kept for years by lifting the roots once the frosts had cut down the leaves and storing them in sand during the winter. Early in spring the roots should be placed into boxes or pans filled with light soil and placed in moderate heat to start them into growth. Once shoots have reached two to three inches in length, they could be taken as cutting and struck in a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

If they plants were lifted before the frosts had got to them, then they needed to be over-wintered in a greenhouse.

For the greenhouse and conservatory Hibberd recommended the narrow-leaved S. augustifolia, the light blue S. azurea, the scarlet S. fulgens, and the white S. patens alba.

Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.

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