Silver Sage Adds A Fuzzy Touch

With some “white stuff” floating down last night to a depth of 3″, I wanted to include a different white in the blog today.  This silver sage (Salvia argentea) seen above is addressed further down with plenty more “visuals.”  The weather should warm shortly and this snow will disappear by the weekend.  I think we were pampered with a warm weekend but March can be a brutal month as Mother Nature will frequently be undecided….Regardless, after some snow removal by Big John and Larry H., the guys had plenty of Holiday Light Show (HLS) processing inside with piles of cords and lights yet to be processed, packed away and stored.  Dick H. did a nice job plowing at the Horticulture Center parking lot and Bill O. stopped by as well.  Janice had plenty of projects and desk work today as well.  Continued snow/sleet this morning has made for some slick roads I’m sure.
We’ve grown silver sage for over 10 years (replanted annually) and have always enjoyed the “strong silver contribution” in the garden.  This plant is a short-lived perennial or biennial that we grow as an annual.  Oddly enough, it is almost hardy but we’re not interested in the tall white flowers the second year any way.  I also think a wet winter would wipe them out.  We want this bold, fuzzy foliage on a plant that looks like lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) on steroids!  The downy, silvery rosettes of foliage are very showy and combine well with blues and other dark colors.  This clump of foliage will reach 12″-15″ and silver sage doesn’t mind heat, humidity, drought and even alkaline soils.  Overwatering in heavy soils can be the “kiss of death” so keep it in a well-drained location with plenty of sunlight.  Native to the Mediterranean region from Southern Europe and Northern Africa to the Eastern Mediterranean, silver sage has seen increased use in containers and sunny borders domestically.  There is a variety called ‘Hobbit’s Foot’ which seems identical to the straight species.  I had no shortage of photos to share as this plant is very photogenic.  See further down for a variegated mutation we found at RBG a couple years ago.  Regardless, I anticipate ordering and using this plant every year.  There is not enough silver in our gardens as it is…consider silver sage for silver but also the fun of rubbing the soft leaves. What a great plant for a sensory garden and/or for children to enjoy as well!?  Place it in a container or along a wall where it can be engaged in a “tactile fashion”!





 ‘Hobbit’s Foot’ (above)









 interesting variegated form of Salvia argentea