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Rosemary, a Bush with Needle Like Leaves

 

Rosemary the bush:

Rosemary is an evergreen shrub and although hardy, it doesn’t do well if the weather gets below 15°F. If you are in a cold climate, maybe you can have a place to protect your plant, such as a greenhouse or sun porch. When planting rosemary, consider how well your herbs might do over the winter.

 

They can be easily grown from cuttings. Get a few clippings started in pots and protected from the harsh weather. Follow the instructions for your own area. Some are more cold or heat-tolerant than others.  If you find rosemary in your local garden center or nursery, just follow the directions for your zone.

 

It is an evergreen shrub and depending on the variety it can get to 6 feet high or up to 8 feet wide. It can grow upright, bushy or cascading. Make sure you pick a variety that suits your planting situation. Check out the varieties below.

 

Rosemary goes well for beds, edging or borders. Use for rock gardens or in containers. Flowers come in blue, purple, white or pink. Shaping is best done in spring.  Take cuttings in summer. 

 

Varieties  of Rosemary

Collingwood Ingram:  2-2 1/2 feet tall, with spread to about 4 feet. Bright blue-violet flowers.

Corsican Prostrate:  arching and spreading 1-1 1/2 feet. Dark blue flowers.

Huntington Blue:  1 1/2 feet tall, spreads quickly but keeps dense center. Pale blue flowers.

Ken Taylor:  Collingwood Ingram but lower growing with a greater tendency to trail. 

Lockwood de Forest:  resembles Prostratus (below) but has a lighter, bright foliage and bluer flowers.

Majorca Pink:  upright shrub to 2-4 feet with lavender pink flowers. 

Miss Jessup’s Upright:  erect to 4 feet with violet-blue flowers.

 Prostratus:  (dwarf rosemary) 2 feet tall with 4-8 feet spread. Will trail over walls or raised beds to make a beautiful cover. Pale lavender flowers.

Tuscan Blue:  rigid upright branches up to 6 feet tall or more. Leaves are rich green and blue-violet flowers. 

 

History of Rosemary

It was believed that the Virgin Mary threw her coat over the bush and that is how it got the blue color.  Another was the Virgin Mary dried her cloak on the bush and instilling the blue color from the sky. Another was, the Virgin Mary hid behind the rosemary bush when fleeing Egypt with the baby Jesus.

 

One legend says that it grows only in the gardens of the righteous. Long ago Greeks and Romans would twine it in their hair because they believed it could quicken their mind and improve memory. 

 

It is an old English custom for the bride to give her groom rosemary on the morning of their wedding to ensure love, wisdom and loyalty. I guess so he doesn’t forget who he is marrying! Another English saying is “Where rosemary flourisheth, the women ruleth.”

 

Uses for rosemary:

You can use the leaves any time of the year, use fresh, dried or frozen. The rosemary oil is at the best just before flowering.

 

Cooking with rosemary 

Use with meats, fish, eggs, herb butter, fruit salads or casseroles. Add rosemary sprigs to olive oil or vinegar for a delightful flavor. 

 

Medicinal and cosmetic 

They use the oil in eau-de-cologne. Fresh or dried leaves used in a facial steam to stimulate circulation. There are many other uses such as for hair rinses, herbal baths or shampoo enhancers.

 

It has been known to enhance good feelings. For any other medicinal uses you should consult an herbalist qualified with such knowledge and always consult with your doctor.

 

Enjoy the aroma

Rosemary is lovely for a floral arrangement as a filler flower and wonderful for bouquets. Use in pot-pourri or sachets. Put a few sprigs in a glass in your kitchen. A great opportunity to bring the outside in to enjoy.

 

When you are thinking what might look good in a spot in your garden or borders, rosemary might just fit the bill with its pretty little flowers. Enjoy some rosemary!

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