“In my early childhood I had some kind of vague yearning to Save the World from something or other; now all I ask is to save a small part of it from over-working in the effort to produce things that are good to eat or are lovely to see.” Ruth Stout
Ruth Stout got people to stop double-digging their gardens, which is hard work. Her books included The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book: Secrets of the Famous Year-Round Mulch Method and How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back: A New Method of Mulch Gardening.)
Flower: Salvia, both perennial and annul. Commonly called sages. Where to begin? Dee and Carol grow quite a few between their two gardens including:
S. farinacea, ‘Victoria Blue’ ‘Evolution,’
S. nemerosa,’Cardonna,’ ‘Rose Marvel,’ ‘Blue Marvel’ (new for 2019) and ‘Blue Hill,’
S. guaranitica 'Black and Blue,’
S. viridis, clary sage,
Salvia officinalis (culinary sage)’ 'Purpurascens' is a purple variety, 'Icterina' is the yellow variegated one, 'Tricolor' is the white variegated one.
Salvia pratensis ‘Madeline’ - White and Purple blooms
Salvia x sylvestris ‘May Night’ - Dee doesn’t like this one. Carol grows it because it has “May” in it.
Salvia leucantha, Mexican bush sage
Salvia pratensis ‘Sweet Petite’ Fashionista series
Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious' Really pretty!
Salvia greggii 'Wendy's Wish' - Hard to find!
Sages are in the plant family Lamiaceae, the mint family or dead nettle family
Perennial salvias generally have one big burst of bloom in mid-late spring. Get them to bloom again but cutting them back hard after their first bloom.
Annual salvias should be dead-headed regularly to keep them blooming. Dee cuts ‘Victoria’ salvia way back once it starts to look ratty.
Veggie: Corn, including Sweet, Popcorn (Glass Gem), Strawberry Popcorn, Field Corn, and Decorative Corn
The story of Glass Gem Corn and its Oklahoma roots!
So many varieties of Sweet Corn to choose from: All-American Selections would be a good place to start. The varieties listed there have been tested so it is a good source of info and you can avoid the hype of marketing. Carol grew 'Sweet American Dream' sweet corn last year and will be growing it again.
Burpee also has corn for container gardeners called ‘On Deck’. Don’t expect to grow enough corn to freeze it for the winter but it is fun to grow in a container.
Corn is basically a large grass so some gardeners like to grow it for the height and fall decorations. It’s good in the back of a border, for example. There are even varieties with variegated foliage like ‘Field of Dreams’ from Select Seeds.
Dirt: Who’s the best garden sage from the past? A gardener you can refer back to over and over again when you are seeking good old-fashioned know-how and garden sentiment.
We can think of several…
J.I. Rodale (organic gardening)
Liberty Hyde Bailey
Cassandra Danz, Mrs. Greenthumbs
Ruth Stout, sister of Rex Stout
Dr. Griffith Buck
“There is a place in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” ― Elizabeth Lawrence