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Sage is one of the most useful herbs to have in your garden. It can be used in cooking, as a hair rinse, a gargle for a sore throat, a natural deodorant, to disinfect a room and can be placed in clothes cupboards to deter insects.
It's also extremely beautiful. Common sage has silvery gray leaves that look otherworldly when viewed in moonlight. There are sages with green, purple and variegated leaves. Its flowers, from pale cream through pink to deepest purple, attract beneficial insects to your garden and, when dried, make a lovely tea.
Sage grows easily from seed, but can also be propagated from cuttings. Most sages are hardy, but some of the ‘fancier' varieties, such as pineapple sage and tricolor sage need some protection in the winter. Prune the plants after the flowers have faded.
Harvest the leaves just before the flowers appear. Leaves can be dried or frozen. Collect the flowers when fully open and dry spread out on kitchen paper.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|