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Rosmarinus officinalis

Photo: Dr. Robert Polomski

The Herb of Remembrance.

As a gourmand, I have a special fondness for plants that have culinary value. As a gardener, I would like these plants to cater to the senses of sight, touch, and smell. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is that plant. This evergreen Mediterranean native that’s found in kitchen cupboards and in the pages of classical literature has been cultivated for centuries.

The gorgeous blue flowers – a rare color in the plant kingdom – fills the bill. As an evergreen woody shrub, I admire the gorgeous blue flowers – a rare color in the plant kingdom – that appear off-and-on throughout the year, with the most glorious display of color in fall and spring. Rosemary is also a top 10 magnet for pollinating bees.
When I brush the fragrant bluish-green leaves with my hand, I feel the oils sticking to my fingers. Instinctively I raise my hand to my nose and am filled with visions of grilled salmon smothered with a honey glaze infused with rosemary and lemon or jumbo shrimp basking in a sauce of garlic, pancetta, tomato, white wine and rosemary.
Rosemary requires full sun and rather dry, extremely well-drained soils. While some people like to fashion rosemary into topiary forms for containers and herb gardens, I allow the cultivars to grow naturally. ‘Arp’ is a very cold hardy upright cultivar while Lockwood de Forest’ is one of several creeping, prostrate cultivars that are perfect for spilling over the walls of containers and walls or sprawling along the ground.