Favorite Flora: Rosemary

Rosemary  (Rosmarinus officinalis)– The Herb of Remembrance

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)– The Herb of Remembrance

By Debra Knapke

What is it about rosemary that is so compelling?  Its deep, woodsy, piney fragrance?  The blue flowers that open in June/July and in December just before Christmas?  Its 8-10’ by 8-10’ shrubby habit in zone 7 and warmer climes?  All of the above?

Before the mid-80’s I only knew it as the slightly piney, grassy herb that was in a jar.  I remember when I first discovered the plant and realized that dried rosemary was a poor substitute for the real thing.  Rosemary vinegar, oil, pesto and butter are a few of the ways that rosemary is added to the food I make.

In the garden, I have tested different areas in an effort to discover the perfect microclimate where rosemary might survive our supposed zone 6 winters.   Most cultivars can survive 10°F temperatures and a few can survive colder winters: ‘Arp’ and ‘Madeline Hill’ are two selections that can take 0°F and live.  For the past two winters much of Central Ohio has experienced zone 7 winters.  Both ‘Arp’ and ‘Barbecue’ came through with flying colors.  The survivors are in full sun, well-drained areas that are out of direct winter winds.

Over the Memorial Day weekend I was able to spend a lot of time in the garden.  I weeded, watered, fertilized – with compost tea – and planted.  While planting rosemary I thought about its well-known meaning in light of the weekend and the true Memorial Day of May 31st.  I remembered.  And silently thanked all who have guided me in my garden and my life.

One response to “Favorite Flora: Rosemary

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