The Dry Garden: Pruning sage

Posted on | August 27, 2010 | No Comments

Last spring, horticulturist Lili Singer remarked to me that one of the most touching mistakes she sees made by novice dry gardeners is timidity in pruning their sages. And so, in the summer edition of the Theodore Payne Foundation’s Poppy Print newsletter,  she nudges native gardening converts to do it.

With thanks to Lili for the push, I am going to echo the prompt in this column in the hope that others may learn to work out their frustrations on their gardens in such a timely fashion.

If it seems late, it isn’t. Only the most ferociously organized gardeners dead-head sage as soon as the flowers fade in June. Watching the flush of flowers drying on the branch through July and August makes for too many sunset grace notes. As Lili notes, birds move in and glean the seeds. Yet by late August, those fluttering elegies to spring just look dead, and it’s as obvious to the most laissez faire gardener as it is to the fire marshal that it is time to prune.

Click here to keep reading about pruning sage in this week’s ‘The Dry Garden’ in the Los Angeles Times.

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