The indispensible sage

purple sage in gardenMy powerhouse plant. The purple sage. When you start on these huge projects, you just don’t know what is going to be the stellar plants.

Who would have thought, for example, that I would use so many portuguese laurel and viburnum tinus plants in the shade garden?

Or that my favourite plant is one that never flowers, never misbehaves and is utterly easy to propagate?

Some would call that dull. I call that indispensible. sage cuttings

Most plants need to be propagated in spring. But I decided on an experiment this autumn to see if the mighty purple sage plants will ‘take’ from cuttings even when the weather has turned.

I just cut off the tops, stripped back the leaves (which will go straight into my salt concoction of sage, rosemary, gardlic and salt), plonked them in a long tray filled with moist compost and waited. I do mist rather enthusiastically with a mister each day.

sage detailYou have to look like you are doing something in the potting shed first thing in the morning when in actual fact you are on the chaise longue with a cup of tea trying to coax the cat onto your lap.

And in just two weeks, look at the root growth on these cuttings.

Brilliant. Spring is always an absurdly busy season in this garden, so any chancce I have to get some plants up and growing in autumn means I’m winning on precious hours of time I won’t have in March. April. Or May.

I’ve potted up this new batch into little pots. And if I take good care, they will sail through the winter in the potting shed without too much fuss.  sage potted up

And then come spring I will dot them among the thymes on the bank of the shade garden, and add more to the barn garden where they can fight it out with the stachys. Yet again, another linking plant that doesn’t clash next to santolinas or lavenders.

I will repeat the process in February (end of March for Wisconsonians) and make even more cuttings then.

End of gardening lesson. Now where’s my tea?