For some people, sage is an acquired taste. While we like to use a little on pork with other herbs, we will save this topic for a future blog. This particular type of sage is called Purple Sage (see above). Some people use it as a border in their landscaping which I might do this year as the leaves last into fall. After buying the Purple Sage at a local nursery in 2009, I planted it in my herb garden and look how big it has gotten! I keep trimming it so it doesn’t take over the entire garden. The base of this perennial gets very woody so you need to keep up with the trimming to keep it small. It can grow between 2 and 3 feet for the height and width. Keep in mind that most literature on herbs labels this form of sage as a tender perennial. If you would like my opinion, I think it is quite hardy if it can survive the winters in Pittsburgh. I water the herb garden with a soaker hose and don’t do anything special to treat this “tender” perennial.
Here are some other good looking sages: 1) I’ve grown Common Garden Sage before which is considered a hardy perennial with green leaves and mauve/blue flowers in the summer. 2) Another hardy perennial is gold sage which has green and gold leaves. 3) Tricolor Sage is listed as a tender perennial with green leaves with pink, white and purple accents. I have not grown the last two but I am considering it!
If you plant sage in your vegetable garden, it is a good companion plant for cabbage and carrots since it repels cabbage moths and carrot flies.
As for preserving, cut a few branches and hang upside down in a warm, dry place for about 2 weeks. Once the leaves are brittle, separate the leave from the stem and crumble the dried leave. Store them in a glass container in a pantry.