Monday, June 19, 2017

Clary Sage...the bloom worth pondering all weekend!


This bloom is well worth pondering about all weekend long, in fact, I feel it worth putting in any garden.....




Yes…this is one of my favorite Sages, of which there are over 600 varieties.  Clary Sage is the icing on the cake in the garden this time of year. When little else is blooming, this beauty breaks out its loveliness and blooms for several weeks. 

I love the bloom as much as it opens and when it is totally opened. It just unravels itself into beauty.  Starting out as a knuckle of loveliness with purple hues, it slowly evolves into one of the greatest blooms ever.  Don’t believe me, go by the Shelby County Park Herb Garden at the Tim McClure Botanical Gardens and be prepared to be wowed!!

Here is some of the most complete information I could find. This is copied off www.seedaholic.com. Please visit that site they have very complete information on many cool plants. 

Article from  Seedaholic.com: (pictures are mine!!) 

Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica, better known as Clary Sage has been grown in almost every botanical sanctuary in human history. Its uses are considerable: a flavoring for wines, an oil for perfumes, potpourri and incense. Medicinally, it's supposed to ease stomach ailments and even stop aging. Most importantly, it's gorgeous and thrives on total neglect. 
This plant has many plus points, it is easily grown in well-drained soil in sun or even partial shade. It grows well in poor soil resists slugs and other beasties, and doesn’t slump or need staking. In full sun, with almost no water, the large, grey-green leaves remain attractive all season long. 

Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica 'Vatican White' is a choice white cultivar that is not that easy to find. This is a nobly architectural Sage, each of its branched stems is topped with a profusion of lilac-white blossoms and brilliant white bracts. The flowers are boosted in impact by the large petioles that surround them. They stand above the large, aromatic, mid-green leaves, which can grow up to 23cm (9in) long and remain attractive throughout the season. 
Coping well in sun or light dappled shade, the blooms are a magnet for bees and butterflies.


Sowing: Sow in late summer to early winter for flowering in spring the following year. 
Salvia sclarea is a biennial plant and like all biennials, seeds are generally sown in early summer, the young plants develop their first leaves and a good root system by the winter. In the coldest months they die down and return with a vengeance in spring ready to put on a first rate flower show

Sowing indoors:
Surface sow in pots or containers containing good quality seed compost (John Innes or similar) Cover with a fine thin layer of compost or vermiculite.
The compost should be kept moist but not wet at all times. Seed germinate in seven to 10 days at 20°C (68°F).
Prick out each seedling as it becomes large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out after all risk of frost.

Sowing Direct:
Seeds may also be sown outdoors directly where they are to flower or in a reserve bed in a sheltered position. Prick out to 15cm (6in) apart and transplant in October. 
Although drought-tolerant once established, a moderate amount of water must be supplied to young plants.

Cultivation: 
Salvia sclarea is a very obliging plant, it will put on a show under almost any circumstances. If you grow clary sage in poor garden soil, it will hang in and produce tough little plants that need no extra watering to survive. But the richer the soil and the more water they receive, the bigger and lusher the plants get.
If you have a limited water supply, and can’t or don’t wish to amend your soil, it’s good to know plants that will survive under those conditions. Clary sage is one of them. It’ll even grow in semi-shade, though it much prefers sun. The only places it won’t do well are in full shade and boggy, permanently wet soils.
Clary sage is a biennial plant, it will grow a rosette of leaves in its first year, the following year it will send up stalks, flower, produce seeds and then will die leaving its offspring ready in the soil to return in its place. However, as with a number of biennials, if you stop the plant producing seeds, the plants will very often return the following year. They have not expended energy on producing seed and have enough reserves to see themselves through the winter to try again next summer.
Pruning the spikes is a difficult choice, because the bracts are so beautiful in the garden. However, the cut stems do look ever so pretty in flower arrangements. 

Plant Uses: 
Flowers Borders and Beds, Wildlife Gardens, Cut or Dried Flowers. Medicinal or tea herb, Beneficial plant, Culinary herb. 

Other Uses: 
Like all sages, the plant contains oil Clary Sage is an ancient species that has been grown for economic, culinary and medicinal uses, as well as for its handsome ornamental virtues. It is grown as a farm crop for the cosmetic and fragrance industry for its valuable sclareol resin. It is used widely in perfumes and flavouring for vermouths, liqueurs and wines.
Other varieties used for distillation are S. verticulata and S. candelabrum. All yield oils which are similar in composition and therapeutic properties. The world annual production of the essential oil is about 100 tonnes.

Origin: 
Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica is It is native to the northern Mediterranean, along with some areas in north Africa and Central Asia. It was one of the first Salvias described by the Ancient Greeks, who used it medicinally to make eye washes and other remedies.
It belongs to the Lamiaceae, Labiatae (mint) family

Nomenclature: 
The genus name Salvia from the Latin word salveo meaning 'I am healed' or 'I am well', referring to the medicinal qualities of some of the species. 
The species name sclarea is derived from the Latin clarus meaning 'clear' or 'bright'. Tea made from the plant's leaves said to clear the brain so that one might see into the future.
The variant turkestanica means 'of or from Turkey'. 
It is commonly known as clary, clary wort, muscatel sage, clear eye, see bright and eye bright (but not to be confused with the wildflower herb Euphrasia also called eyebright). 
Muscatel is a sweet wine made from muscat grapes, the word is also used for an elusive taste found in some teas. The word denotes a unique muscat-like fruitiness in aroma and flavour. 
In the Middle Ages it was known as 'Oculus Christi', meaning the 'Eye of Christ' and was a highly esteemed medicine.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Did you ponder this photo all weekend?



The “Think about it Plants for the Weekend” are Bronze Fennel with Elephant Garlic in front of it. 
First the Fennel, I love this Bronze Fennel and so do many pollinators. This is such a strong butterfly plant. It grows to over 5 feet tall and has beautiful displays of copper feathery  leaves, then the golden umbrella flowers emerge and develop into anise tasting seed heads. 
To me it looks like a dark storm cloud in the garden and just adds such an amazing contrast of color and leaf texture. It is edible and makes a very unique vinegar.  Once established it will readily reseed and can become invasive. But worth sharing babies to any special garden friend. Beware it does have a long tap root so it is more difficult to transplant when it is larger. To me it is a must in the herb garden. 
The Elephant Garlic is more like a leek than a true garlic. It has a much milder taste and very easy to grow. The bulbs can be dug up and eaten, plus the seed toppings are also edible. It will spread easily, so another great one to share.  I love how the seed head sheds its papery cover to reveal the bloom. It is like a person taking off a cap to reveal a head of purple hair!
These are two great herbs…enjoy!






Saturday, June 10, 2017

Happy Hour in the Berry Patch


Nothing better than a Friday Night in the Berry Patch.  I will be forever grateful to whoever planted these jewels in my garden 50 years ago or more.


It is always a race against the birds to get to these treasures. This year we have gotten two good picks.  Over 5 years ago, thanks to my son-in -law, we organized the berry patch and set up rows of trellis's. Over the years, the trees surrounding my patch have grown and unfortunately there is too much shade. Since both the berries and the trees are too massive to move, I just have to go with the current show.





These are Everbearing Raspberries, which just means I get two crops out of them.  Summer and maybe fall.  Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately over the years the Thornless Blackberries have pushed out many of the Raspberries.  Since I love these berries as well, I have not made the effort to save my red jewels. Maybe this year....

I will make some Raspberry Vinegar,  maybe a cheesecake, but mostly we will just have Fresh Whipped Cream and Berries.  As you can see I hit the strawberry patch first for the last few strawberries left.

Anyone you eat it, this HAPPY HOUR IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES.  Now where is my glass of wine?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What is it Wednesday?

Can you name this lovely combination of Flowers?   Answer tomorrow....
 

Sorry I have been silent for a couple weeks, so much going on in the gardens, teaching classes and visiting Grandbabies......

Friday, May 12, 2017

My Peonies...A Mother's Day Gift

I will confess, I bought our house because of the Peonies...well that probably is one of the many reasons.  It was the end of May when we first looked at the house over 20 plus years ago and all of the hundreds of peonies were in bloom. I was blown away.

My Mother and Grandmother Goldie both adored Peonies. In fact, we use to take bags of Peony petals up to spread on my grandmother's grave after she died.

Each year, I say I am going to try and ID the different varieties, I believe many of them are Old-Fashion varieties.  Over the years I have spread them out so they go completly down one fence row. I still have several I need to move because they are in too much shade, but have never purchased a new Peony plant as mine have lasted for generations.

They always bring me such emotional joy, some how it seems fitting that they are blooming on Mothers Day this year.  I am going to find some special Mothers to pick bouquets for, because these fragrant beauties are fragile and just don't last long enough.  I do bring lots in and air dry the petals in a flat box.  They are beautiful layered in a glass bowl.

For now, I will enjoy them and see my Mom's and Grandma Goldie's' sweet smiles in every single one.


P.S. Here are a few tips..my Mother and Goldie taught me...

Only move and divide in October

Make sure that each tuber has at least one eye on it and is firm before replanting.

Do not bury them too deep...or they will not bloom. Like Iris, they should be like ducks on a pond.

Do not mulch over them..it will eventually put them too far under.

Always stay one step ahead of the weather....spring storms make short work of the blooms. It is a good idea to stake them if possible. (For me, not possible just too many, so mother nature just has her way with them)












Lastly, do not worry about the ants. Ants and Peonies are best buddies....just brush them off when you cut them to bring in and enjoy.

Happy Mother's Day!



Monday, May 1, 2017

BASIL BECKY..... Gardening from the Heart: Yes..it is Foamflower.....

BASIL BECKY..... Gardening from the Heart: Yes..it is Foamflower.....: Yes …this gem in the wildflower garden is Tiarella , foamflower ,is a genus of wildflower and garden plants found in Asia and North A...

Yes..it is Foamflower.....



Yes …this gem in the wildflower garden is Tiarella, foamflower,is a genus of wildflower and garden plants found in Asia and North America. They belong to the Saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae).

I grow this in a shady area behind my herb house. I love working in this area, especially on hot days as this area stays so nice and cool. Over the years, many wind storms have gone through this area, I have lost major limbs off the trees. This has given this area more sun than in previous years, it is a very dynamic area constantly changing.

So I am continually moving and changing plants in this area. ..But back to the foamflower. I love its fuzzy bloom..but it is also provides pollen for birds and bees . The leaves are attractive all season long….I hope you will add it to your garden. 



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