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Everything Salvias: Sage Experts

Sage Experts is a regular feature in the Flowers by the Sea Everything Salvias blog. It concerns specialists in the world of ornamental Salvias.

Every plant genus has a group of experts who cultivate interest in its species through research, education, market development, hands-on experience and a willingness to answer questions. Some experts are professionals and others are amateurs so well-schooled in the genus that they become go-to sources for useful, accurate information that helps gardeners to succeed.

These are the kind of people you will find profiled in Sage Experts. They understand and are willing to share knowledge about the vast Salvia genus, which includes approximately 900 species from around the world.

Our sage experts range from academics to professional growers. They work or volunteer for botanic gardens, landscaping businesses, plant nurseries, research organizations, universities and other organizations. Some are authors and journalists.

Each expert has a different story to tell about how they became involved with Salvias, but all are united in sharing a deep appreciation for the genus and its many tough yet lovely species.

Sage Experts: Nancy Newfield, Hummingbird Gardener, Part III

Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2016

It is ironic that one of the least social types of birds inspires so much sociability in human beings. We refer to hummingbirds, which are the object of festivals and the communal effort of bird banding research nationwide. This is the third and final article in a series about renowned hummingbird expert Nancy L. Newfield, who grows many Salvias in her hummingbird gardens. We recount a visit to Louisiana to observe Newfield and her team banding hummingbirds in winter. You'll also find a rainbow of top hummingbird Salvias listed here.

(Photo credit: John Owens)

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Sage Experts: Nancy Newfield, Hummingbird Gardener, Part II

Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2016

Salvias are among the best hummingbird flowers and red is tops. That's what hummingbird researcher, Nancy L. Newfield began discovering more than 40 years ago. She found that  flower nectar was more attractive than nectar feeders. This is the second article in a 3-part series on Newfield and hummingbird gardening. It includes an excerpt from her book Hummingbird Gardens and an FBTS list of red hummingbird favorites. Bud Hensley photographed the hummingbird pictured here enjoying Salvia subrotunda.

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Sage Experts: Nancy Newfield's Hummingbird Journey

Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016

Renowned hummingbird bander Nancy Newfield of southern Louisiana shares her journey from 1970s stay-at-home mom to citizen scientist and one of the nation's leading hummingbird researchers. This is the first article in a three-part series about Newfield's work and gardens, which abound with Salvias to feed hungry hummingbirds that overwinter in her suburban yard near New Orleans. It includes plant lists and the Louisiana Winter Hummingbird Project tally of banded hummingbirds from 1979 to 2015.

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Sage Experts: Richard & Bracey Tiede Nurture Salvias & Community

Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2015
Synopsis: Love of gardening is partly about love of nurturance. Some gardeners nurture far more than their home landscapes; that's the case with Silicon Valley retirees Richard and Bracey Tiede. Through avid volunteerism in organizations such as the Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County, Western Horticultural Society and Pacific Horticulture Society, they are helping to popularize drought-tolerant Salvias and shape sustainable gardening practices in the West -- a part of the country constantly facing drought.

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Sage Experts: How Dr. Dufresne Became the Sultan of Salvia

Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014
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.

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Sage Experts: How Robin Middleton's Gardens Bloomed

Posted: Monday, September 15, 2014
Synopsis: Sage Experts focuses on Salvia specialists -- both amateurs and professionals -- in settings ranging from home gardens to university laboratories. This article concerns Robin Middleton of Surrey, England, and his popular Robins Salvias website. The longtime horticulturist grows more than 100 Salvia species and cultivars in his garden and greenhouses.

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Sage Experts: Meet Salvia Researcher Jesús Guadalupe González-Gallegos

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Synopsis: The FBTS Sage Experts series focuses on Salvia specialists -- both amateurs and professionals -- in settings ranging from botanic gardens to universities. This article focuses on Jesús Guadalupe González-Gallegos of the University of Guadalajara, an expert in the taxonomy of Salvias native to Western Mexico. He discusses the megadiversity of Mexican flora and problems involving incorrect identification of sage species.

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Sage Experts: Meet Huntington Gardens Curator Kathy Musial

Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2014
Synopsis: The Sage Experts series focuses on Salvia specialists — both amateurs and professionals -- in settings ranging from botanic gardens to universities. Kathy Musial, curator of live collections at Southern California's Huntington Gardens, is the subject of this profile. If you imagine a great dinner party involving lots of garden talk, Kathy Musial would be an ideal guest who could share her experiences plant trekking in Australia and Chile or co-managing some 14,000 varieties of plants at Huntington.

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Sage Experts: Meet Professor Rolando Uria of Argentina

Posted: Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sage Experts is a new feature on our Everything Salvias blog. It focuses on horticulturalists -- both amateurs and professionals -- in settings ranging from botanic gardens to universities. All have expertise in cultivating plants in the Salvia genus. This first profile talks about Argentina's Rolando Uria, an agronomy professor at the University of Buenos Aires and a presenter at the 2013 Salvia Summit II. Uria is well known for discovering Salvia 'Amistad'.

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