Tag Archives: Indigo Woodland Sage

I hope I learned my lesson.

Last week I took some time to dig weeds out of my front yard flower beds. Just getting my hands in the dirt gave me visions of trailing butternut squash vines and sunflowers turning their sunny faces to the summer sky. Somehow I missed the other part of the picture that must come earlier in the sequence of events: me jumping on the shovel and sweating in the midday heat, kneeling over my tomato holes that had been custom-filled with various composts and manures and topsoils lugged home in bags from Home Depot.


Before that hard work began, however, my first visions were expanded when I visited the plant sale I love, which happened almost the next day. Mrs. Bread went along with me and I came home with more kinds of plants than I had originally planned. Ha! No surprise, is that?

P1130201The timing of the sale seemed so convenient, but now as I think about it, it was unwise of me to buy plants before preparing the soil. It was the end of April and everything seemed urgent, especially once the baby plants were in my line of vision and begging to get out of their little pots. The pressure was on to make places for them, and I had to go against all good sense and nearly sacrifice myself trying to make good on my investment.

Yes, in my heart I do still know how to be a gardener. But in the flesh? My body is sending messages that we needed some help with the grunt work and I better never do that kind of thing again. Tonight I can barely walk, and am typing while soaking my feet, poor tender feet that were trying to make do with a shovel when I needed a post-hole digger. All the joints and sinews and head and muscles are crying, “Enough! More than enough!”

mystery salvia plant-1
my mystery salvia – mystery solved

This unusual degree of pain and suffering is a result of trying to do too many things in one summer. I should have just said, “This summer I want to take out the swimming pool. Next summer I can have a garden.” But oh, no, I have to do both. If the back yard is likely to become unavailable, I’ll just use the lawn area in the front (which was supposed to die last summer, but didn’t). If I had done as a widow woman should, and consulted with someone, anyone, before forging ahead, they might have reminded mP1130199e that I could buy very nice tomatoes at the farmers’ market, and that breaking sod is something one does with a plow.

Well, live and learn. I hope my plantings are successful, but even if they aren’t, a couple of good things have come from my recent escapades. I bought a cute little Garden Dump Cart today to haul things around the property. And when we were at the plant sale, I saw a salvia that strongly resembled my mystery salvia that I wrote about in this post. I took a picture of it and after researching at home I think it must truly be Indigo Woodland Sage. How satisfying to finally know the name of the stalwart perennial that graces my world.

The best thing about the plant sale day was not the vast nursery offerings we meandered through, but getting to tour around Mr. and Mrs. Bread’s beautiful and homey garden. And when we got back from the sale she cut our 6-packs of dill, cutting celery and Titan sunflowers in two, so we could share.


At 9:00 p.m., it’s still 70° on my patio, and I have the windows open. I will feel better tomorrow, after a good sleep. Now there is nothing else making me hurry, and  I plan to slow down again and enjoy the springtime. Happy May!

earthy and herby

salvia leaf close-up 9-14
mystery salvia

What is so exciting about autumn? If things are slowing down and dying, wouldn’t that be depressing instead?

Maybe the season just finds us ready for change, glad to move on from the laziness of summer to the harvest and to tidying up, getting ready for the winter….The heat is not so enervating, and the air is fresher and not heavy.

In autumn, being a gardener, I get close up and intimate with the dirt and the plants’ roots, as there are so many perennials that need trimming and the planting beds cleared out. Today I reached my hands and pruners down through the swaying leaves of the lemon balm, to where its roots run all tangled together with oregano just below the surface of the ground, and their earthy and herby smells rose up and quite affectionately came right into my nose! I always leave the door open for them.

coleus 9-14

I pruned the spent flower shoots and leaves of the “mystery” salvia, revealing all the clumps of volunteer plants with their fresh new leaves. Better Homes and Gardens has a salvia guide online, but I didn’t have any more success than before in finding my plant among all the 30+ varieties they show. [update: it has been identified as Indigo Woodland Sage, Salvia forsskaolii.]



I picked the last of the pimientos and fried them all up with slivers of garlic. Here is one of the loveliest so you can see how big and heart-shaped they typically are.

Two friends showered us with goodies from their gardens in the last few days, including things we didn’t have in our own, like lemon cucumbers and green beans and hot peppers. Tonight I managed to deal with quite a bit of the bounty and include it in a yummy dinner. The Yellow Brandywine tomato vine is loaded with fruit and now it is all ripening late. So sweet.

One last zinnia picture: This is one of the trailing type with blooms only two inches in diameter. When I look at it closely the detail grabs me. It almost looks as though tiny yellow stitches are holding the petals on. Orange is a good and even arousing color to go with the season; maybe it will help to energize me for the remaining garden work. Happy Autumn!


What’s growing in my garden.

I’m enjoying the garden so much these warm summer days, I had to take some pictures. I guess it is something like having a new baby who is always changing — makes you want to capture some of the wonderfulness before it’s gone forever. My memory alone is not up to the task, that’s for sure.

Most of our vegetables this year are just to the right when we step out the back door, just off the patio.

veg 6-14

In the last couple of years we made a big effort to improve the soil and ended up with such a huge crop of tomatoes we couldn’t use half of them. I gave away a lot, and froze many quarts, which are mostly still in the freezer.

When I started popping cherry tomatoes into my mouth like candy last July I suffered some ill effects from all the acid, so I have learned to be moderate, and Mr. Glad always was restrained in his consumption of the fruits. This year we planted half as many tomato plants so that left room for some zucchini, which is bearing now. It’s been several years since we grew zucchini; I love to stir-fry it with red bell peppers and maybe some chili powder until it is toasty brown on the edges.

Remember the seeds my friend bought me at The Seed Bafennel 6-14nk? Now the little fennel plants that came up from them have grown taller, feathery and bright. I have to keep pulling out the nasturtiums that are trying to take over that area. Don’t know if the fennel will have enough summer to mature, because as I mentioned, the Baker’s Seeds packets don’t tell you how many days to maturity, and who thinks of looking up that kind of thing once you have got back in the house and need to get on with other things.

I like to do my gardening and garden-thinking in the garden. I guess that’s one reason I can’t settle down and enjoy Gladys Taber. I borrowed three books by her from the library hoping I could share the joy of her with other bloggers. I found that I don’t have the patience. I can’t enjoy reading about her homesteading because my own is more compelling. And if I’m going to ignore my housework and garden it has to be for the sake of reading and writing about some other realm.

blues and greens from sw 6-14
Blues and Greens – lamb’s ears and salvia

Or maybe just writing a blog post about my garden or house. Don’t you think if Gladys were alive today she would have a blog? And I would read it, I’m sure. Though I prefer to read the blogs of people who are alive and with whom I can have more of a give-and-take, practical relationship.

Then there is the fact that Gladys lived in New England and so many of the plants and the climate are unknown to me. I’d rather spend a couple of hours trying to identify a local plant than read Gladys’s truly lovely prose about her world. mystery salvia plant 1

Here is a salvia plant I spent a good hour trying to identify, anmystery salvia bloomd which has been growing in my garden for a few years. The leaves get to be more than 10″ wide, and the flower spikes over 3″ high.

I’ve looked at a slew of pictures and descriptions of salvias but not one looks like this one. Maybe the nursery where I bought it developed it – I might take my pictures there and ask them. [Update: It’s Indigo Woodland Sage.”

salvia manzanita valerian 6-14

I think it looks really pretty growing into the peeling manzanita, with a little red valerian in there for accent color.

new olive 6-14I bought a new little olive tree! It was at the grocery store and was marked down 50%, and I thought it had been pruned into a very nice shape….could not resist.

So now I am the proud owner of two olive trees. The one I received as a birthday present a few years ago grew very gangly before Mr. Glad pointed out to me that it needed some training. This one seems to be off to a better start already, but it will want a bigger home soon.

I still have roses and more in pots. This last picture features the bushy variegated thyme that I always like to have around. A couple of times a year I shear it to keep it bushy, and it is forgiving if I am irregular with the water. I’m a pretty irregular gardener all around, and I specialize in growing generous and longsuffering species. Summer is also the generous season in the garden, so I am blessed.

pots & foot 6-14