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.