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Google “Bog Sage” and the search engine will insist that you are looking for information on comedian Bob Saget.
Perhaps that’s the reason I’ve never encountered this herb before—it has a branding problem. 'Bog' sage doesn’t quite have a poetic ring to its name. Search it further and find that the Latin label is Salvia uliginosa, which at first glance appears to say Salvia ugly-something.
Wandering around the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum the other day, I followed a flock of goldfinches from plant to plant down a back walkway. They were hopping from echinacea to echinacea chattering and chirping, each time just out of range from my camera lens, when I came upon a beautiful scene.
Photo by Rhonda Hayes
Clouds of Brazilian verbena and Russian sage (sounds like a United Nations of flowers) blooming against the low autumn sunlight created a haze of sparkling azure and lavender. Then I detected another shade, a true sky blue. I quickly sought out the label in hopes of identifying the gorgeous blue spires.
Bog sage. Kind of like finding a lovely, tall girl named Maxine Ficklebaum. But I wasn’t fazed; thinking of all the damp spots or any spots in my garden that could be beautified with this big blue flower. I pulled out my phone and started searching. Hardy to Zone 7, maybe 6. Drats.
More reading tells me it is a fast growing sage that blooms in late summer to fall, making it an annual for me but one worth gambling on, even if I suspect it will taunt me like pineapple sage, usually blooming days before the first frost in Minnesota.
I see that the Arboretum has it planted in a bit of a microclimate; between a building and a sheltered hillside with lots of reflective heat from the walkway pavers. That’s a good strategy I can adopt for quicker bloom.
Although it is an obvious candidate for moist to wet soils, info says it will tolerate drier ones. Best in full sun, but tolerant of a little shade. A magnet for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Yep, it’s going in my courtyard next year!
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