Hard pruning the sage plants

sageprepruneSnow. I pruned these plants under snow. Well, a sudden and very surprising snow shower.  It was, believe me, unexpected.

I had just stalked out with my plastic bag, secateurs and kneelers to hard prune the sage plants in the herb garden.  It’s my annual end of winter job.  If I forget to cut each plant back, hard, they grow way too wonky.

And this wonderful herb is used both decoratively and also for culinary purposes.  So it works hard in this garden.

But just as I had made my first chop, the snow came down. I scuttled to the potting shed and had to wait ten minutes before the tiny grains of snow decided it really was spring and ougprunedsageht not to make an appearance.

And why the plastic bag? To keep the cuttings secure and comfortable before I could get back to the potting shed and prepare them for propagating.

But back to the plants; they are very obliging in that they sprout new leaves quite low down on the woody stems, so you know how hard you can cut back.

And I leave some leaves on where I am happy with the shape of the growth.  The purple sage never flowers. Such a well behaved plant. But I allow some of the green sage to flower by keeping this top growth on the plant.

sagesampleWith so much sage in the garden – in the herb bed, along the north side of the barn on the walnut path, dotted through the barn garden – I came back into the shed with a huge sack full of herbs.  And snow all over my fleece again.

sagecuttingsStorm number two. But I didn’t mind as I knew I had an hour of indoor work to strip the sage leaves off the lower stems, cut just at a joint, and then place the sage stems into damp compost.  I don’t want to risk failure by boasting, but sage cuttings are the easiest plants to clone.  Stick them in the old compost mixed with vermiculite, wet thoroughly once, cram in the stems and forget.

I can usually get 80 per cent success and new little sage plants in about a month. Ready for potting up and then a week or so later, planting out.

And by doing them so early in the season, you don’t have to worry about the sage cuttings drying out or overheating. Or getting scorched by the sun.sagetodry

There was no sun today. Just mad snow showers and scudding clouds.  And very blustery wind.

It was a good thing I put all the extra sage leaves I will dry in the house inside the plastic bag. I had to zip along between the potting shed and the house holding onto my hat.