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ORRIN MORRIS: Primarily found in Texas, autumn sage grows well in Georgia

Morris artwork for Nov. 18.

Morris artwork for Nov. 18.

When I was a child, Thanksgiving was a celebration at the end of the harvest. The fields were filled with shocks of corn, and the snow fences were installed across the prairie landscape. The shelves in the cellar were filled with "canned goods" and bushel baskets were brimming with Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, and anything else that could be stored.One of the Biblical descriptions of a thanksgiving celebration is made by the prophet Jeremiah. He described the return of the Hebrew people from Babylonian captivity in these terms: "And they shall come and shout for joy on the height of Zion, And they shall be radiant over the bounty of the Lord -- over the grain, and the new wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; and their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again" (31:12 ).

The wildflower we examine today is called the autumn sage. It is one of eight salvias in Georgia. Three have recently have been featured in this column: blue sage on Dec. 4, 2010; lyre-leaved sage on Jan. 12, 2011, and scarlet sage on Aug. 6, 2011.AUTUMN SAGE

Salvia greggiiI was introduced to this variety of sage at the botanical garden developed by Georgia Perimeter College, Panthersville. It is called Texas red sage by the botanists there. This perennial is native to the U.S. Though primarily found in Texas, it has survived well in our area.

This plant is the size of a shrub, standing 3 to 5 feet tall and as broad. The stems are light green and the branches are opposites as pictured.

The 3-inch leaves are ovate, that is, they are lance-shaped but broader toward the petiole, the leaf's stem. The leaves areopposites with very short petioles.

The 1-inch blooms are somewhat typical of the other sages with a trumpet-like throat and a broad drooping lower petal. That lower petal for this sage is broader and consists of two lobes. The upper part of this petal is arched and colored a deep red. The two lobes are a dark pink, thus creating a vibrancy to the appearance.

During this coming week we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. Many families will be gathered in the tradition depicted by Norman Rockwell on the 1943 Saturday Evening Post Magazine.

Others will be gathered at their churches to thank God for the blessings of the year. Several churches in our area will be further demonstrating the heart of Christ's teaching regarding ministry to the poor by providing free meals. Check the listings in this paper for opportunities you may have to share in these generous endeavors.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com or call him at 770-929-3697.