The botanical name for sage is from the Latin salvare, which means to heal or cure. The word is also the root of “salvation.” This is interesting because the Arabs believe that sage, or salvia, confers longevity almost to the point of immortality. It is also supposed to bestow wisdom.
In the garden it was once believed that sage would thrive if the owner’s business was prospering, but wilt if bad times were pending. An early English legend also maintains that the herb thrives in a garden where the wife rules the house. It therefore became customary for the husband to prune sage bushes ruthlessly to conceal evidence of his subservience. Among other quaint legends surrounding sage is the belief that it is bad luck to plant your own. A stranger must be found to do it for you. Also, if you believe in legends, ensure sage shares the bed with another herb. A bed full of sage brings misfortune.
Sage is a hardy (growing zone 4) perennial that should be watered frequently until it’s well established and then watered infrequently. It is better to propagate sage from cuttings since the seed doesn’t store well and although it germinates quickly, it takes about two years for the bush to grow to the productive stage.