Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Growth of Clary Sage

Clary is a Unique Sage in my Garden

Clary sage (Slavia Schlerea) is quite different from the other other sages I grow. I had no idea to expect when I planted it. It's lush flower spikes surprised me. Best known historically as a remedy for getting foreign matter out of one's eyes with its seeds, it also can be used in the kitchen, but is not as versatile there as the other sages are. Pregnant woman should avoid it, and no one should mix it with alcohol.   I only grow clary sage to add beauty to my summer garden. 

The Growth of Clary Sage
Clary Sage Bud, May 25

My Experience with Clary Sage in the Garden

I first planted my clary in a pot in my yard in Templeton. A couple of years ago I brought the pot to our Paso Robles home. It bloomed there last year. Then it appeared to die down and I thought it was gone. I've since learned it can be biennial (blooming the second year and then dying) or perennial. 

After this year's rains, it came back and started to grow again. On May 25, I snapped the photo of its first bud of the season, which you see above.

Within a week, the buds had turned into the flower spikes you see to the right. The plant is still in the original pot. I am hoping it will reseed. It reseeded once three years ago, but the weed abatement man thought it was a weed and dug it up. He tried a day later to pot it, but the roots had been exposed too long to make a recovery.

The Growth of Clary Sage
Clary Sage in Bloom, Early June

Other Sages I Grow

I also grow tricolor sage, to the left in the photo above. I can't recall if I ever saw it bloom. Most sages bloom in June, but so far I've never seen so much as a blossom on this potted plant. I have seen the more established plants in Templeton bloom. I made this greeting card on Zazzle with it pictured in bloom next to common sage. 

It could be the tricolor variety is on a different timetable than other sage varieties, in spite of what the books say. The Missouri Botanical Garden website says tricolor sage should bloom in May or June. The flowers are supposed to be lavender or purple and quite showy. They should be hard to miss. Maybe tricolor sage has different blooming dates in Missouri. 

My common sage, pictured below, has been blooming since at least April in my Templeton herb garden as has been my black sage in both gardens. My watermelon and Spanish sages have also been in bloom since at least May. You can see them, in addition to the black sage, pictured in my post on what blooms at the end of May

The Growth of Clary Sage
Common Sage in Neglected Herb Garden, © B. Radisavljevic

Have you ever grown clary sage? If not, would you like to? What is your favorite variety of sage?  Please feel free to leave your feedback in the comment box below the share buttons. 

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