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Everything Salvias Blog

Everything Salvias Blog

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.

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Everything Salvias Blog Entries


Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS

Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS


Category: Ask Mr. Sage
Posted: Dec 10, 2014 06:03 PM
Synopsis: Flowers by the Sea is a mail-order nursery eliminating craziness from garden planning with advance orders and customer selection of shipping dates. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature based on calls and emails received by FBTS. This article details how to use our redesigned pre-order process and other catalog tools for making sure you get the plants you want when you want them.
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Choose Plants for Microclimates

Ask Mr. Sage: How to Choose Plants for Microclimates


Category: Ask Mr. Sage
Posted: Nov 28, 2014 09:28 PM
Synopsis: Even in a small yard, you can have more than one climate. These variations are called microclimates. This article talks about how airflow may create microclimates in the yard, such as chilly areas near fences. It suggests ways to troubleshoot these problem areas and to make the best planting choices for them. Ask Mr. Sage answers questions based on calls and emails that Flowers by the Sea receives from customers.
Portraits in Gardening: Michael and Kathi Rock's Hummingbird Journey

Portraits in Gardening: Michael and Kathi Rock's Hummingbird Journey


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.
Ask Mr. Sage: First-Aid for Salvia Frost Damage

Ask Mr. Sage: First-Aid for Salvia Frost Damage


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.
Cultivating Color: Tracking the Elusive History of Autumn & Mountain Sage Warm Pastel Hybrids -- Part II

Cultivating Color: Tracking the Elusive History of Autumn & Mountain Sage Warm Pastel Hybrids -- Part II


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.
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants in Warm Zones

Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants in Warm Zones


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.
Cultivating Color: Tracking the Elusive History of Autumn & Mountain Sage Warm Pastel Hybrids -- Part I

Cultivating Color: Tracking the Elusive History of Autumn & Mountain Sage Warm Pastel Hybrids -- Part I


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.
Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Space Salvias When Planting

Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Space Salvias When Planting


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.
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Prevent Root Disease in Plants for Dry Gardens

Ask Mr. Sage: How to Prevent Root Disease in Plants for Dry Gardens


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.
Beneficial Insects at Flowers by the Sea

Beneficial Insects at Flowers by the Sea


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.