Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rose Sage

Salvia pachyphylla
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2007 jim otterstrom

A favorite Big Bear Native is Rose Sage (Salvia pachyphylla) and the two photos I made this morning show the color variations this super-fragrant wild sage displays in our garden.

The plant pictured above, with the more intensely rose-colored bracts, is growing in the part of our garden with the poorest rockiest soil & very fast drainage, while the flower below is growing in deep silt-laden soil which retains water longer. You'll notice that the flower above is more mature, with measurable elongation to the stem between the bracts, and it has already lost most of its violet petals, however the paler colored ones, like below, don't usually gain much more color as they age.

I wonder if soil & water variations, sun exposure, or some combination of those, contribute to the difference in coloration, and, although I'll probably never understand that with certainty, I monitor the way they bloom in different parts of the yard anyway, just out of natural curiosity.

Salvia pachyphylla, also known as Mountain Desert Sage, is an extremely cold-hardy perennial shrub which is found in well-drained granitic areas of Southern California, at elevations between 5,000 & 10,000 feet, where it grows to a height of 2 feet or more. Rose Sage can also be used as a culinary sage, and, while it does have a very strong flavor, it's quite delicious if used sparingly. We've used it with good results in bread, as a rub on meat, and in bean soups.

Click on photo to enlarge - © 2007 jim otterstrom
The Big Bear Xeriscape Garden Tour last Saturday was very successful with approximately 407 people (the number who signed in at the beginning of the tour) visiting our garden and seven others throughout the day.
Once again, generously volunteering her time and expertise, our friend Orchid Black came up from Pasadena to sell nearly $500 worth of native plants on our deck for the benefit of Hunter's Nursery who carries the plants in support of the Big Bear Lake DWP/Sierra Club efforts to promote Xeriscape & Native Plant gardening/landscaping in Big Bear Valley.
Thank you Orchid, we couldn't have done it without you!
The local chapter of The Sierra Club also took in a total of over $1,000 from cash donations, sales of canvas shopping bags, and raffle tickets.
We meant to take pictures Saturday, but Orchid, Peggy, and I were all so busy talking with people that it just didn't happen.
Also, our friend and neighbor Cheri Williams added much to the ambiance in our garden throughout the day with her soulful folk/blues singing and guitar-playing. Cheri performed for nearly five hours and still went home smiling, with blisters on her fingers.
Thank You Cheri!

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Blogger Madcap said...

Glad to hear it went well, Jim.

I love how the light creates a halo effect in that second photo.

5:59 AM  
Blogger dragonfly183 said...

OOoh those are beautiful, as always.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do love those subtle-colored flowers.

4:32 AM  

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