Posted by: briellethefirst | March 28, 2011

Rosemary


IMAG0004Rosmarinus officinalis is a piney-smelling shrub. Some varieties will grow into lovely formal or informal hedges 4 foot tall or more, while others are prostrate and make good tall ground-covers or at least drape nicely over walls or rocks in rock gardens. All can make handsome Bonsai, trained into formal or trailing styles.

Being a native of the Mediterranean it tolerates heat, drought and abuse very well. It does, however, reward kindness of water, fertilizer and judicious pruning with strong growth. You can harvest the leaves and sprigs any time as needed, but they are strongest just before flowering or they can be dried or frozen for future use.

In the kitchen Rosemary is used in soups, sauces, stews, pork, lamb, rabbit and chicken. It complements peas and spinach and livens up bread. Herbal preparations such as butter, vinegar, oil or honey benefit from its addition. Use a little at a time until you’re used to it because it can be rather strong. It is welcome in all fragrant concoctions and the French and Italians burned it as incense. Bees like its flowers.

Flowering Rosemary

Rosemary flowers

Rosemary is said to grow only in righteous households, but is apparently very tolerant of sin. In ancient Greece students wore Rosemary to help their memory while studying for exams. Modern research may confirm its memory-enhancing properties. According to English custom brides ensure fidelity and love by giving the groom Rosemary on their wedding morning and it is said that women rule where Rosemary flourishes. Men who are sensitive about appearances of their position in the household may consider judicious late-night pruning to keep the local gossips quiet-just don’t get caught by the insomniac down the street.

Rosemary and night-blooming datura

Rosemary and night-blooming Datura

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