We may be only 90ft above sea level here but I imagined the lavender weaving its way through other plants. Only one survived; the rest shrivelled into non-existence, dwindling over time. The couple of purple sages I planted at the same time stomped all over the remains. Several years on I now have a 'river of sage' - not quite the same, but attractive in its own way! For years I disliked the dried blood smell of sage even in stuffing and have only recently come to appreciate it. Now I have so much of it I suppose.
|Purple sage with periwinkle and crocosmia 'Lucifer' - you can't see the other plants it weaves through (a lot)|
The botanical name Salvia derives from the Latin salvere ("to feel well and healthy, health, heal"), the verb related to salus (health, well-being, prosperity or salvation); referring to the herb's healing properties. The common modern English name sage derives from Middle English sawge, which like the botanical name, stems from salvere.
|Salvia officinalis 'Icterina'|
|Here is a poorly looking one, but with a nice label (Hackney City Farm)|
Opposite New Cross Gate station is the Hobgoblin pub and Dig This Nursery. I stopped at the traffic lights long enough to read the list of herbs on sale and will definitely be paying a visit. They seem to stock lots of different varieties - what a change from the likes of Homebase/B&Q and garden centres like Ruxley Manor and Phoebe's. I've noticed a gradual narrowing of choice to larger (and more expensive) pots and less variety and it doesn't seem that long ago that I could pick up small pots of feverfew and lady's mantle for £1.50. At that price it doesn't matter that much if it turns up its toes; at £7.99 you not only have to make a bigger hole but I would feel precisely £6.49 more pain if it then upped and died.
|Dig This Nursery in New Cross Gate|
The savorys are interesting, winter is perennial and summer an annual. Like many herbs they belong to the Lamiaecae family and both are considered to be an antidote to flatulence.
|The 'curry' plant, Helichrysum italicum|