Is there a more delicious and versatile herb than rosemary? Not only can you cook delicious dishes with rosemary, but it also has numerous health and medicinal benefits, looks great in your garden, and can be used as a lovely perfume and air freshener. With small packets of fresh rosemary costing a few pounds, growing your own will save you a lot of money over the course of a year. We don’t think any garden is complete without a robust rosemary bush.
Read ahead to learn how to incorporate rosemary into your garden!
Rosemary is a woody herb that grows in bushes of spiny needles that are similar to pine needles. Its official Latin name is Salvia Rosmarinus, and its common name is derived from the Latin phrase dew of the sea – ros marinus. It is a woody herb that grows perennially, and is native to the Mediterranean. You can often smell rosemary before you can see it – it has a pungent piney odour. It is used extensively throughout Mediterranean cookery, from Lebanon and Turkey through to France, Italy, and Spain.
Rosemary looks lovely in any garden, and makes for a useful hedging bush. Place near a pair of Lutyens benches for a calming and relaxing place to spend time in your outdoor space.
You can grow many different rosemary varieties, each of which has its own visual appeal, aroma, and flavour.
Of course, rosemary is fantastic for cooking. It’s a vital ingredient in roast dinners, parmentier potatoes, pork dishes, and even in gin cocktails. But did you know that it is also a popular and useful medicinal ingredient, used in teas, tinctures, and capsules?
Packed with iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6, it is prized for its ability to promote hair growth, improve the memory, calm the nerves, and alleviate sore muscles. Rosemary is known for its antioxidant properties that are believed to improve circulation and immune function. Many people with indigestion swear by the efficacy of rosemary to ease their suffering.
Follow these tips to grow this useful and delicious herb.
Rosemary is a hardy plant, but it does have a few common growing problems. Thankfully, even a novice gardener can overcome them.
Most gardeners choose to grow rosemary from cuttings, as the seeds can take ages to germinate.
The process of growing rosemary from cuttings is quite simple. Just follow these steps:
Prune your rosemary to keep it healthy and abundant, and looking its best. Pruning can take place any time during the spring and summer months, but avoid doing so up until four to six weeks before cold weather and frost. Pruning before the frost can prevent the bush from hardening and getting ready for the cold weather to come.
It’s best to wait until spring or summer, when it grows most rapidly, to harvest your delicious rosemary. Assess your plant for long branches at least 20 cm long, and never harvest the younger shoots. Cut the top 5 cm with sharp scissors and be sure to leave some green needles on each branch.
Never harvest more than 1/4 of your bush at a time – this ensures that it will continue to grow. Most gardeners find that having three or four bushes guarantees that they will always have enough rosemary to cook with, without over-harvesting and harming their plant.
Rosemary is the perfect herb to dry and use for months (and even years) to come. Unlike more delicate and leafier herbs, rosemary maintains its colour, texture, and bold flavour even when it is dried.
There are three main ways to dry your rosemary:
Once your rosemary is dry, store it in an airtight container in a cool and dry place. You can also save your rosemary in oil. Ensure that the sprigs are below the surface of the oil, and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
With so many medicinal, health, and flavour benefits, rosemary is a true herb superstar. It also looks great in your garden and can be used for hedging and decoration, and its fragrant aroma will lift your spirits. Happy gardening – and eating!
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Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.