Salvia ‘Mulberry Jam’

Mulberry Jam

I cannot rave enough about this annual sage called ‘Mulberry Jam.’ We planted several small plants into the gardens at CMBG in mid May. Since that time, we have had a somewhat wet and at times, chilly late spring into early summer. It was just this past week that we finally received hot, dry weather. Mulberry Jam has weathered the storms and continued until the sunshine.

The flower buds start out as a deep reddish purple. As they open, the flowers become a nice, deep pink. Like all salvias, it has a slightly different colored calyx. The calyx keeps the deep reddish purple color. The spikes are upright to around 4′ in height. So far, the plants have been pest and disease resistant. It is listed as being hardy to zone 8 or 9 so we will see how long it lasts on the Maine coast this fall. The plant was originally bred by Betsy Clebsch from her garden near San Francisco.

Salvia Mulberry Jam group

We have it combined with clear-orange red hot pokers and Verbena bonariensis. Around the base of the plant, there is variegated St. Augustine grass to give it a pop at ground level.

Mulberry Jam at CMBG

This fall, I hope to lift a few plants and winter them over in the greenhouse as propagation stock. Next year, I want to start the season with even larger plants.

If I have a complaint about Salvia ‘Mulberry Jam,’ it would be that I wish that I would have planted more!


Photos:,, rodney eason

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rodney eason

Rodney Eason - Director of Horticulture and Plant Curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, father of 4, husband to a Renaissance woman. I spent the first part of my life in North Carolina, the middle in Pennsylvania, and now I am determined to become a Mainer  while keeping my southern drawl. I consider the rhetorical question, "you're not from around here, are you?" a compliment. I love great gardens, beautiful plants, and inspiring architecture. Because of this, I am on a lifelong quest to find a garden that artistically combines beautiful plants while being centered around an evocative building. For me, this would be Beatrix Farrand's Dumbarton Oaks, with the plants of Lotusland and Chanticleer, around Fay Jones' Thorncrown Chapel. My wife and I are now making our new home and garden in a 130 year old New England house with a farmer's porch near the Damariscotta River in coastal Maine. When our kids get into college, we want to hike the Appalachian Trail as a family over a summer break. My likes (in random order): the smell of fresh basil and rosemary, bold foliage, India Pale Ale, good running shoes, Top Gear, the smell of New England in the fall (it reminds me a bit of English Leather, which my grandfather wore), and the sound of our family laughing together around the dinner table. I dream of one day owning an old Toyota 4X4 pick-up and seeing the Avett Brothers in concert.

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