This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
One who has had the privilege of seeing the flora west of the Mississippi in the autumn season of the year, will not soon forget the scene. From Texas to Kansas and Nebraska, the wild, uncultivated lands are perfectly gorgeous with red and blue and gold. Malvaceous plants, like Callirhoe or the "poppy mallows " and the Liatris or "gay feather" often make up a good part of the rich red tints, while many kinds of aster-like plants, especially various kinds of Helianthus or sun-flower, supply the gold. Among the blues which take their places among these and the plumes of the numerous species of prairie grass are some species of sage, especially Salvia lanceolata, Salvia angustifolia, Salvia azurea, Salvia farinacea, of which we give an illustration herewith. We are glad to give this illustration because botanists themselves seem to have been confused as to these species as seen growing in their natural condition. In Southeastern Kansas, for instance, one often recognized by collectors as Salvia Pitcheri (now considered as but a variety of Salvia azurea,) is very common. Others have believed this Kansan plant to be Salvia farinacea, and in cultivation we often meet this plant under one or another of these names.
The plant from which the illustration has been made has been distributed by Haage & Schmidt, of Erfurt, under this name, and we believe it to be entirely correct, as, it is a pleasure to note, are most plants sent out by this enterprising firm. It will be noted by those who are familiar with the Kansan plant tha" the lip is not nearly as large. According to Dr. Gray, this species, the true Salvia farinacea, is confined to Texas. Salvia azurea grandiflora (Pitcheri,) and a smaller blue species, Salvia lanceolata, are the blue sages of the splendid fall flowers of Southern Kansas.
According to Haage & Schmidt, the Salvia farinacea is an annual, but in its wild Texas habitation it is a perennial. We have, however, found it to flower freely from seed the first year, so that it may be treated precisely as if it were an annual.