If you are sick of winter and ready to start gardening, it is time to plant salvia.

These heirloom cottage-garden plants, with the botanical name Salvia farinacea, are one of the few truly blue flowers, making them an intriguing choice. One of the best salvias is Victoria Blue, which has spires of graceful, tubular blue flowers that grow about 12 inches tall.

Like most annuals, once it starts blooming, salvia will keep blooming until the first frost – so you’ll want to give the plants as much of a head start as possible. While they look good in the garden, they also work nicely as a long-lasting cut flower. To start the seedlings, put some of your favorite planting mixture in a small sterilized pot, about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Press the dampened soil mix to compact it, put in some salvia seeds and barely cover them with a dusting of the soil mix. Keep the soil mix moist, and put the pot under artificial lights or in a south-facing window.

Salvia likes rich but well-drained soil, and it needs full sun. When you transfer the seedlings to the garden, space them about 10 inches apart. Use a slow-release fertilizer or fertilize them about once a month.

These blue flowers will keep the blues away all summer long.