Growing Rosemary

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We all know the comforting smell of a leg of lamb roasting in the oven; the scent of rosemary and garlic wafting through the house creating great anticipation of a special occasion and a wholesome meal. Rosemary has truly stood the test of time and continues to be both a beautiful and useful herb to have in your garden.

Rosemary is one of the most decorative herbs and is well worth growing for its appearance alone. The word rosemary derives from the Latin name (Rosmarinus officinalis), rosmarinus meaning "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus), or "dew of the sea". It is an evergreen, woody perennial herb with fragrant pine-needle-like leaves. Depending on the variety, it usually has small, profuse flowers appearing in late spring that range from dark blue through to pale blue and right down to white.

A great advantage of rosemary is that because it is a perennial it can last for twenty years or more with only minimal pruning once a year. Shrubs can become thick in foliage but they easily tolerate clipping so that the size can be kept in shape and not get out of control. Although rosemary is a native plant of the Mediterranean and Asia, it is still reasonably hardy in cooler areas. Rosemary is a good choice if you want shrubs that are able to withstand droughts well. It will survive a severe lack of water for lengthy periods of time but when conditions are very hot, it is preferable to water plants lightly every few days. The Mediterranean and Asia, it is still reasonably hardy in cooler areas. Rosemary is a good choice if you want shrubs that are able to withstand droughts well. It will survive a severe lack of water for lengthy periods of time but when conditions are very hot, it is preferable to water plants lightly every few days.
Rosemary plants can be found at most nurseries and there are many different varieties. Amongst the most popular are: Mc Connels Blue – a wide growing variety and Tuscan Blue – a more upright one. They do well in well-drained, light soil, even a sandy soil will fully satisfy its feeding needs. Water-logged soil will not have a positive effect on this plant so if you have very clay soil as is common in the Bloemfontein area, choose to contain your plant in a pot with potting soil. Rosemary prefers a slightly limey soil (the opposite of acid) because this results in smaller plants with more fragrant leaves. True to its origins, rosemary prefers sunny and sheltered conditions. It will withstand severe frosts if conditions are not windy and wet as well.
Rosemary requires very little care throughout the year. Water only when the soil is clearly dried out and feed once a month with liquid fertiliser from April to October if you can. Trim the side stems to keep the plant to the size you want, the best time to do this is just after they have flowered.
These low maintenance shrubs are bound to bring you endless pleasure whether it’s by filling your garden with fragrant beauty or your kitchen with fragrant delight. Plant yours today!