Many cooks automatically think "stuffing" or "sausage" when sage is mentioned as a culinary herb. True enough, but there are reasons why this herb is so popular in gardens, and it's not just about eating. Purple sage forms beautiful mounds of dusky purple foliage, one to two feet tall and wide, and once established, is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, evergreen plant. Lavender blue flower spikes rise above the foliage in summer, attracting bees to the garden. Unlike thyme, basil, or oregano, the flavor of sage's leaves doesn't change once the flowers emerge. Cooking tip: try fast-frying individual sage leaves in 1/4" of oil, maybe 10 seconds per side, until crisp. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and you have sage chips - delicious!
To prolong the life of purple sage, cut the plant back in late fall or winter just past the woody stems. New growth will emerge in the spring. Harvested leaves may be dried by tying stems into bundles and hanging them in a cool, dark ventilated space until thoroughly dry.