Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Horticultural Interpreter.
The Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa) is a native of the warm lands of the eastern Mediterranean but survives the cold winters here in the Northeast provided it has some shelter. Ours is situated in a sunny spot, with the protection of the stone wall of the Tropical House just behind it.
It is an evergreen shrub with grayish-green foliage. Indeed, the underside of each leaf is entirely silver-grey―not unlike the related culinary sage (Salvia officinalis).
All the plants along this narrow planting border on the western side of the greenhouses have been chosen for their silver or gray appearance, partly because such plants usually thrive in hot, sunny places and also because their coloration helps to the grey and white structure of the greenhouses meld with the landscape.
Jerusalem sage’s bright, golden-yellow blooms are clustered in tight whorls and they are putting on a fine display this week.