We began publishing our Everything Salvias blog in 2010 for your enjoyment and to help you "get it right" when growing sages that are often unavailable at local garden centers.
It seems like there is an endless bounty of stories to be told. But that's to be expected when covering a genus containing an estimated 900 species -- the largest group within the mint family (Lamiaceae). In addition to Salvias, we write about other species that are either mint family members or low-water companions for our many drought-tolerant Salvias. We welcome comments as well as suggestions for future blog posts.
To access articles rapidly based on your interests, please click on the categories below, which include do-it-yourself videos (Views from the Garden). If you subscribe to our RSS feed by clicking on the small orange button feed button
, you'll receive announcements when new blog articles appear. But please note: This is a dangerous place for a sage lover.
Category:Portraits in Gardening Posted: Nov 26, 2014 06:59 PM Synopsis: A wedding gift led to Kathi Johnson Rock and Michael Rock's passion for hummingbirds. These Wisconsin birders offer tips and plant suggestions for hummingbird gardeners at FBTS. Although now known as Madison's "Hummingbird People," the Rocks aren't ornithologists or biologists. They are home gardeners and customers of Flowers by the Sea who discovered the power of nectar-rich Salvias and companion plants to fuel hummingbird migration. This article includes a list favorite hummingbird plants found in the Rocks' gardens.
Category:Ask Mr. Sage Posted: Nov 20, 2014 08:22 PM Synopsis: Harsh winter weather in areas that normally have mild conditions can bring unwelcome surprises, including the death of favorite plants. This article talks about how and when to remediate frost damage to favorite Salvias in warmer USDA Cold Hardiness Zones. It concludes with a sidebar about a harmful cold snap in California's Bay Area that killed plants as well as birds in 1972 and which changed planting choices at the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature that is based on topics raised in calls and emails we receive at Flowers by the Sea.
Category:Cultivating Color Posted: Nov 16, 2014 08:18 PM Synopsis: Luminous Salvia x jamensis pastel flowers began warming up nursery catalogs in the late 1990s. Their journey from steep Mexican mountains to American and European gardens began in the mid-19th century with the discovery of Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii). This is the second post in a two-part article about these Jame Sage hybrids of Autumn and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla). It opens our new Cultivating Color series and is based, in part, on the experiences and insights of Salvia specialist Dr. Richard F. Dufresne. We conclude with descriptions of 10 favorite Jame Sages.
Category:Ask Mr. Sage Posted: Nov 7, 2014 11:22 AM Synopsis: Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives. This one concerns how to select plants when you move to a different USDA cold hardiness zone, such as in a warmer climate.
Category:Cultivating Color Posted: Oct 31, 2014 10:21 PM Synopsis: Whether planned or accidental, hybrids happen. This is especially true among the closely related Southwestern and Mexican species of Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla). They are native to different areas of the Southwest and Mexico, but cross freely when they meet. This story is the first installment in a two-part series initiating our Cultivating Color series. It involves North Carolina Salvia specialist Dr. Richard F. Dufresne, who has helped us track the history of warm-colored S. x jamensis hybrids in the Autumn/Mountain Sage group.
Category:Ask Mr. Sage Posted: Oct 27, 2014 09:02 PM Synopsis: By spacing Salvias properly when planting, you avoid problems caused either by overcrowding or leaving too much space around individual plants. Most Salvias are healthier with good air circulation. Crowding leads to the spread of fungal diseases and pests, such as spider mites. Too wide of spacing may cause branches to break in high winds. By paying attention to plant measurements before planting, you can create a good spacing plan. Ask Mr. Sage is a Q&A feature based on topics raised in calls and emails to FBTS.
Category:Ask Mr. Sage Posted: Oct 19, 2014 02:55 PM Synopsis: Learn how to prevent root rot and keep dry-garden Salvias healthy by providing optimum growing conditions and avoiding overwatering. Ask Mr. Sage is a Q&A feature based on topics raised in calls and emails to Flowers by the Sea. This one, which concerns a Salvia species that is drought resistant and native to a dry climate, considers how to identify and prevent rot caused by a complex of soil pathogens that attack when roots.
Category:Views from the Garden Posted: Oct 15, 2014 08:51 AM Synopsis: Beneficial insects help control destructive insects in greenhouses and gardens. Flowers by the Sea uses beneficials to keep plants free of pests and to avoid use of harmful pesticides. FBTS is a horticultural farm in Northern California specializing in hundreds of ornamental Salvia species. In this video, FBTS horticulturist and co-owner Kermit Carter talks about the use of predatory mites called Persimilis and Fallacis to attack plant-eating spider mites and Encarsia wasps to control whiteflies. Carter shows how a tiny box from an insectary contains thousands of helpful insects, including ladybugs, which keep his farm free of pests. The microscopically small predatory mites come packaged with bean leaves that make it easy to distribute them in the garden. Paper strips for overhead hanging contain the wasp eggs. This video is part of the FBTS blog series Views from the Garden.
Category:Sage Experts Posted: Oct 9, 2014 06:00 AM Synopsis: A chance encounter with Pineapple Sage led organic chemist Dr. Richard F. Dufresne to become one of America's leading Salvia researchers. Sage Experts focuses on specialists -- both professionals and amateurs -- who have helped popularize the Salvia genus. Dufresne's life course changed the day he visited Rhode Island's Biodynamic Meadowbrook Herb Farm. The study of chemistry had already helped him to emerge from childhood confusion caused by ADHD. Discovering the heady pineapple fragrance of Salvia elegans at Meadowbrook gave him a cause.
Category:Everything Salvias Blog Posted: Oct 8, 2014 11:04 AM Synopsis: You don’t have to be a florist to create eye-catching designs with dramatic Salvias. By planting the right Salvias and complementary flowers in your garden as well as gaining a little knowledge about color combinations, well-balanced compositions, simple tools and cut-flower preservation, you are on your way.
so glad i found FBTS in an article in the NYT. the quality of the flowers is superb and the service is great. now where to plant all the cupheas and salvia?
— Shotsy Faust
I ordered 3 salvia apiana (white sage) plants and they came in right on time. The three plants were large with shoots coming off f them already and a healthy root system. I had ordered 3 of the same plants from another online grower and they came in almost dead and have since died. I give Flowers By The Sea an EXCELLENT and will order from them again!!!!!Thank you,Jessica
I just received my 1st order of plants and I am thrilled by the condition and by the quick delivery time. Spectacular service.May I suggest that you include your excellent print out on after- care of plants upon receipt with orders.
— Carol Terry
My Salvias arrived fresh and lovely. I have been luxuriating in their fragrance this past week. "Doris," the name I've given my Salvia dorisiana is so nicely vertical. She looks particularly regal among my houseplants and smells like she is wearing a bit of fruity perfume. Thanks for the great plants and shipping.
I just received another order of BeautifulSalvias from Flowers By The Sea. The plants are large and healthy in perfect condition. I really can not say enough positive things about Kermit and Vikki!You will not find better salvias or better service anywhere.I have ordered a number of thimes since I found their site earlier this year. The plants and the service have been the best I have ever rece...
— Rose Hodges
When I received my order the plant had snapped in half during shipping, I contacted them and told them about it and they promptly sent me a replacement that arrived in awesome condition! The plants were both very healthy and green despite the first one being broken. The quality of the plants was far above any other nursery I have ordered from.
I ordered 4 salvia this year. All arrived GREEN and VIBRANT--no wilt and no breakage. By far the best plant packing I have seen...but most importantly, all the plants went into the ground and took perfectly.I love the selection! Please keep scouring the world for new salvias. Also love the blog!Scott
I always await my Flowers by the Sea order like a child awaiting Christmas! Even though I know the plants I ordered and I know every plant will be perfect, it is exciting just to open the box and experience the love and care that goes into every shipment. Then to await the show in my garden! My only regret is that I am running out of space . . .
— Nancy L Newfield
From Coast to Coast in 3 days!So happily excited I was to receive my order Wed. Oct. 23, Charleston, SC.I placed my order on 10/19 & was notified of tracking # as expected but sometimes don't get. I knew UPS would have it here, SC by Thursday but it arrived early by a day. Yippy. The pkg. packing was more than expected! Way above good shipping standards. Plants arrived in beautiful conditi...
— Marie Lewis
Your website, plant quality, careful packing, rapid shipping (1900 miles in 2 days, thanks UPS!), & superb personal customer service will keep me coming back! My wish list is filling up already. THANKS Kermit!