|Snow on ligularia seed heads|
- Peter Loewer
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean coastal areas and it likes a warm, dry, sunny growing spot. Some varieties are hardy to zone 6, most are hardy to zone 7. Wet winters are more of a problem than the cold. Many gardeners however manage to keep potted rosemary plants for many years by bringing pots to a protected spot for the winter. A few lucky souls keep rosemary alive in zone 5 winters by planting it in a dry protected area and mulching or covering it in the winter.
Rosemary likes sandy, well-drained soil. If you plant rosemary outside directly in the ground and have heavy clay it might be best to plant your rosemary in a raised bed. Zone 6 and below gardeners should plant rosemary in containers so they can bring it inside for the winter.
In zones 5 and below bring in rosemary plants before the temperatures go below freezing regularly. The plants can withstand frost very well even light freezes won’t hurt them. Indoors rosemary plants should be in the brightest light possible, preferably a south window. A cool room that stays just above freezing with high light would be ideal. Don’t fertilize plants and allow the pot to dry before watering. A place with good air circulation is best; some people use a small fan on their rosemary plants to help them avoid fungal diseases in the winter.
Rosemary responds nicely to pruning and shaping and is often turned into topiary. It is sometimes shaped like a small Christmas tree and sold as a seasonal decoration. In the garden upright rosemary is often trimmed into hedges or topiary figures. Trailing varieties are excellent as ground covers, on banks and walls and in hanging baskets.
Using rosemary in cooking
Rosemary has long been used as a rinse for hair and in other cosmetic preparations. Ancient Greek scholars wore wreaths of rosemary to help them remember their lessons. The scent of rosemary is said to enhance memory. Sprigs of rosemary are given out at weddings and funerals to signify remembrance. Rosemary was burned in early hospitals and sick rooms to cleanse the air.
Modern research is studying the antioxidant and antibacterial properties of rosemary and has found that rosemary is an excellent food preservative.
I’ll soon be growing marijuana as a houseplant!
|Purple glow of LED grow light|
The ghosts of her
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
The birds are flown.
In its distress,
Displays a certain
- John Updike, A Child's Calendar