Scarlet Sage

 I received some unexpected mail yesterday, a manila envelope from an aunt. Inside the envelope was a copy of a letter my Aunt Marjorie wrote in 2004 with memories of her father, and in particular her recollection as a child of how he spent his last months in failing health before passing away in 1937.

Of course, I did not know him, her father, my mother’s father, my maternal grandfather. I actually know very little about him so receiving the letter with my aunt’s memories was a pleasant surprise.

Included in the letter, appearing as almost an afterthought, my aunt wrote, “P.P.S. Daddy used to make a large vegetable garden in the backyard. That stopped when he could no longer dig. I remember Mother saying his favorite flowers were scarlet sage.”

That P.P.S. was the most exciting discovering in the letter. I did not know my grandfather planted a vegetable garden. There is little mention of that in my grandmother’s diaries. And I surely did not know his favorite flower was scarlet sage.

Guess who is going to plant scarlet sage in her garden this spring, a variety that would have been available before 1937.


  1. What a delight to get that link to the past. Scarlet Sage is such a beautiful old fashioned flower. It is so hardy and bees love it. I can see why he would like this flower so much. Can't wait to see your swathe of Scarlet Sage.

  2. How exciting to get to know a little more about your grandfather!
    Scarlet sage...sounds interesting, I think I would like to grow it, too!

    Have a great week-end!

  3. What a treasure you received, Carol! Knowing these sorts of things about our ancestors is thrilling. I look forward to seeing photos of the scarlet sage growing at May Dreams.

  4. So, your grandfather loved flowers. To me that says it all.

  5. So gardening is genetic! Can't wait to see Scarlet Sage in your garden this summer and fall. gail

  6. ♥history + ♥flowers = ♥your post!

  7. How cool is that!

  8. Nice - I have copies of letters from my Great-grandmother in the 1930 and early 1940s - she was a typical country cottage gardener - every plant was a gift from a neightbor or friend - she never bought anything - I was surprised at the variety of plants she had accumulated in this fashion.

  9. Getting such a letter from the past is so cool, Carol - what a gift!

    I see Scarlet Sage used as the common name for both Salvia coccinea and Salvia splendens - any idea which one your grandfather planted?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  10. It's nice to learn things like that. I remember my dad's parents having a large garden. I asked them to look for photos of it awhile back, but they couldn't find any. I should ask my aunts and uncles if they know of any. The only flower I remember is the iris.

  11. I come from a long line of farmers and have wonderful memories of my Grandma's garden. I'm happy to say that I have a cutting from my Grandma's Christmas Cactus and my Mother still has some of her Hen's and Chicks that grew in the flower bed up by the front porch. BTW, I hope you've got something special planned tomorrow. Hope it's a great one!

  12. What a treasure for your birthday! I love when gardens are a storybook of the lives that made us grow.


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