Friday, August 23, 2013

Plant ABCs: R is for Rosemarinus

Plant ABCs is an ongoing series in which I am highlighting a plant from my garden for each letter of the alphabet.  I'm currently going through the entire alphabet A - Z, then will continue updating and adding plants to the list over time.  My previous posts in the series are on the "Plant ABCs" tab under the header.  Today's letter is "R" and Rosemary is the highlighted plant.  Rosemary plays a big role in my garden because it is easy to grow, very drought tolerant, and absolutely deer-proof.


Due to the tough stems and strong fragrance, the deer don't touch it.  This plant is allowed to grow over the front walk to release its fragrance whenever I brush by it.  I have always loved the scent of Rosemary.


Rosemary is very long-lived.  This plant under the big oak by the driveway was planted by the original owners nearly 20 years ago when the house was built.  It serves as a very attractive evergreen groundcover in this location.

 
I've seen recommendations that Rosemary will discourage deer from other plants in the garden.  That works somewhat but they still reach over to get something they want so it doesn't keep the deer from nibbling the pittosporum behind it.



The botanical name Rosmarinus officinalis applies to both upright and prostrate forms even though it technically means upright.  There are so many different types of Rosemary that I haven't kept track of all the names in my garden, the exception are these Foxtail Rosemary plants I couldn't pass up because they have my name on them.


Foxtail Rosemary are planted on either side of the pathway from the deck to the circle garden.  They are on either side of the 5 o'clock spoke or lower right in the photo below.  I wanted an evergreen plant to mark the entrance to the garden but didn't want anything too formal so Rosemary fit the bill just right.


I planted quite a few prostrate or low growing Rosemary plants along the rock borders in my yard.  This one in the front driveway island adds a spot of green when the lantana dies back in fall.  I usually trim it during summer to allow the other plants to show up better.


Here it is in bloom last February while the lantana on the right is looking quite sad and little else is blooming.  There is also a white blooming Rosemary available which I'd love to add to my garden.


I also plant it among the rocks and borders.  Rosemary rarely needs water and loves full sun.


Rosemary is an ancient culinary and medicinal plant which is the subject of many myths and legends.  Rosemary appears in literature throughout history and is an essential if you like to cook.  It's wonderful to just go out a snip a bit whenever I need it.

Rosemary is hardy to zone 7 and prefers to be on the dry side.  It's inexpensive and widely available so I haven't tried to propagate it and it doesn't transplant well.

I can't imagine my garden without Rosemary.

22 comments:

  1. Neither can I imagine a garden without rosemary, including in paths where brushing it releases that evocative fragrance. You have made spectacular use of the plant, and I love your circle-and-spoke feature.

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    1. The circle garden is a favorite spot of mine and it was built on what was previously the ugliest spot in the yard.

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  2. Rosemary is very flamable so people should use caution in planting it adjacent to the house.

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    1. Rosemary appears on lists of fire-resistant and fire-prone plants. It does contain oils that will burn, but the concern also seems to be that it accumulates dried needles like many plants. After researching this I'd say if you live in a wood house in a high-fire area, don't plant anything next to the house except a few cacti if you must.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your oasis area. We have one here at El Presidio that I'm working on. SOON I will begin to plant things in....which include Rosemary!!! I want something low maintenance:) And Rosemary is definitely one of those plants....plus it's green all year round!

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    1. Rosemary is a plant you can leave without water for a while even in the heat of your desert summer so it's a good choice for your garden.

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  4. Rosemary looks right at home in your setting. Here, she resents wet feet, but I have to have one around for all of the reasons you mention.

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    1. I think potting it in a container would work well in your climate. They are so inexpensive that you can treat them as annuals if needed.

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  5. Rosemary is a wonderful herb, you have a great climate for it. The prostrate forms don't do well here. We have a couple of upright ones planted on our ramp's earth mounds and so they have very sharp drainage and get very little water in summer. Heather, Oregano, Thyme, and Marjoram also like it there, and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi. I like to go out and pull off some leaves for cooking lamb or fish, and also use Rosemary in making salve with Rose petals and Comfrey.

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    1. Sounds like you've made it work for your climate. I can imagine because sometimes we lose the prostrate ones here if they don't like the conditions.

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  6. Foxtail Rosemary is a new one (or name) to me! Without Rosemary, we would not have anything in bloom here mid-winter. So versatile. Happy to find many trailing ones for my culinary needs, too. Still wrestling with how my relatives from Sicily justified moving to western NY state, far from where rosemary can grow...

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    1. I remember your recent walk to find some rosemary for your oil. It is odd how they went to places that were so different from their home climate.

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  7. When we moved here there was a huge (3x5) rosemary in the back garden, I was so excited! Sadly a year or so later the neighbors rain gutter failed and dumped water on that plant all winter long. By the time I realized what was going on she was a gonner.

    You're smart to put a plant near the path, nothing beats that smell!

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    1. It is wonderful to release that fragrance unexpectedly sometimes.

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  8. Circle garden pic....my fav yet!

    Lookin' good over there Shirley!!!! :)

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    1. Yes, that's a newer one, filling in a bit now.

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  9. I`ve had rosemary in my garden practically longer than any other plant. I take it for granted, but you are right in that it is an anchor. Great spotlight, Shirley.

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    1. It's one of the few original plants from the existing landscape we inherited.

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  10. I enjoyed learning so much about Rosemary! And it's a beautiful ornamental plant--how neat that you have so many varieties. If I ever live a bit further south, maybe I'll plant some. It's gorgeous, and it does smell fantastic!

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    1. You can also use it as an annual there.

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  11. Shirley, I love rosemary too! Nice color and smell! I grow it in a pot. Nice photos, especially with stony circle.

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    1. That circle has been a fun project.

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