My career in plants began because I stood next to Dick Welker in the church choir.
We were tall, dark, handsome, and sang bass, so we were always at the back of the choir. One problem we had while standing side by side was that we were a bit noisy. We have been kicked out of the choir on several occasions.
When I graduated high school, I didn’t have a job. Dick owned Welker’s Greenhouse on Harbor Road and asked me if I wanted a job. I said “yes” and here I am today.
The Welker company dealt chiefly with foliar plants, with which I have become very familiar. One time, Dick ordered a trailer load of bedding plants, which I was unfamiliar with. Then he surprised me with the news, “I’m going to Florida. You have to sell us all those bedding plants.”
I didn’t know petunia from marigolds, but I succeeded in selling all the plants. Gradually I started to learn the names of the annuals, but it took a while.
One of the plants I liked was called sage. Later in life, I discovered that the correct name was Salvia. Later in life, I discovered that there are annual and perennial versions of salvia. I’ve noticed several plantings of annual red sage growing in the landscape this year, which means it’s making a strong comeback from the old days.
The sage plant, which should not be confused with salvia, belongs to the mint family. The nice thing about the mint family is that deer and rabbits don’t care about the smell or flavor, so they leave it alone. I don’t know if this is related to peppermint muffins or not, but I enjoy them and have them in my Easter basket.
I’ve been growing a lot of perennial sage specimens lately, but I prefer the annual ones. Perennials have a short flowering period and may only bloom twice a season, but annual red varieties bloom all summer long.
Both are pollinator favorites, but annual types have larger flowers, which attract more pollinators and hummingbirds.
Annual sage plants are very easy to grow. They enjoy at least six hours of full sun and are not heavy feeders. You may only have to fertilize it once at the beginning of the season.
Unlike Uncle Raymond, they don’t drink much. Normal precipitation is usually sufficient. If there is drought, water once a week.
They can be grown from seed or purchased at your favorite garden center.
My favorite teacher, the late Dale Cameron, once bought a box of sage from me when I was at the Weingartner house. I remember telling him that in order to get bushy plants, the center of the plant had to be pinched. He will do it.
I didn’t mention the fact that he had me read aloud in class a fake love letter I had received from another student, claiming to be the woman who is now the mother of New Castle Police Chief Bobby Salem.
Removing spent flowers is important for appearance and getting new blooms. Make sure to apply pressure to the lower part of the torso.
Salvias come in a variety of colors. Red, pink, white, blue, purple, coral, orange, green and yellow should give you enough options to blend into your landscape.
Speaking of hummingbirds, Mildred and I became good friends. What I mean by close is that she comes face to face with me. One day, I had a thought, I wonder if she had ever thought about my nose. I hope you’re not trying to check them out for some nectar. This may be painful.
Make your space a green space.