Sage is the most handsome of herbs, with softly felted, grey-green leaves. Purple-leaved varieties make a sophisticated backdrop for brighter flowers – good partners include tulips, alliums or chives. Variegated varieties come in green and gold, or splashed white, pink and purple.
As with all Mediterranean herbs, give it your sunniest spot and free-draining soil, and clip back gently in spring to keep it compact. You can pick leaves all year round: sage is an essential ingredient for turkey stuffing and delicious in chicken and cheese dishes. It’s also an ancient remedy for sore throats: steep in boiling water then drink as a soothing tea.