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of the Month

Berggarten Sage

December 8, 2016 Back to Picks >

In cooking, sage leaves complement strong-flavored meats and add zest to stuffing and potato dishes. And having a year-round supply of fresh leaves to harvest adds a richness to these dishes that can�t be achieved with the powdery dried substitute.

Outdoors, Berggarten Sage foliage can take a garden through the seasons. One of the most beautiful foliage herbs, originally from Germany, Berggarten Sage has a shapely, compact habit and large rounded leaves. At 2 feet tall, it�s perfect for planting at the corners of beds and along walkways. Its dusty-green leaves provide a pleasing background for its own violet-blue blooms in early summer.

Sage is an easy herb to grow, putting up with conditions far from optimum. However, the closer you can imitate its native habitat, the happier it will be. Ideal conditions are full sun, good drainage and air circulation, and moderate fertility.

Good drainage is key. Even a well-established sage plant can be wiped out in a wet year. But I�ve seen a tenacious Berggarten Sage hang on for many years through all kinds of wet and dry conditions — sometimes diminishing in leaf size and plant spread, but never giving up entirely.

Prune the stems by at least a third in early spring, after the danger of freezing is past but before new growth really gets started. Through summer, the light pruning that results from harvesting sprigs for the kitchen helps plants stay bushy.