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A Relationship with Herbs

by Caitlin (Heron&Crow)

Rosemary 'Gold Dust'

A humorous look at one gardener's relationship with herbs.

I moved back to the Pacific Northwet at the beginning of 1999, filling two thirds a 45 foot trailer. The trucker decided on my sanity as I had him carefully load meticulously packed house plants into his rig, in January. Several precious things came in the car with me: My children, photo albums, the coffee pot, grandma's Christmas cactus (all 3' diameter of it), and the rosemary.

The rosemary finally found its way back into the ground in 2001 when we bought our home. I had to cut it back severely twice a year less it take over. We dried the leaves and then used the twigs as BBQ skewers. I bought the rosemary companions. Lavender, thyme, sage, marjoram, basil. Oregano was already here (Let me know if you need some). These herbs settled out in the main planting beds and also in pots within easy access to the kitchen. They thrived on neglect and what sunshine our climate graced them with. I even bought an additional rosemary for near the kitchen. Fresh herbs at the doorstep is surely a cook and gardener’s dream. Being both, it makes me very happy.

Then along with one of those memorable snow/freezes, the unthinkable happened. The rosemary I'd carted all the way up from California, obviously indignant with the cold, up and died on me. All four magnificent feet of it. My children had named this plant and they grieved its loss. My father admonished me by saying: Girl, you buy a new one each year so when this happens it's not such a big deal." Not so hardy. I had to buy rosemary for most of a year while its replacements (plural) grew enough foliage to use without risk of killing them. This led to the discovery of different varieties of rosemary. Who Knew?

Traditionally used on lamb, in spaghetti sauces, eggs, and in breads in our household, rosemary is second only to oregano in our herb usage. Most rosemary is hardy to 15-20 degrees. Chances of survival are better if it’s protected. It prefers a friable well drained soil and, like many herbs, can survive on as little as twelve inches of water a year. It is surprisingly tolerant of a wide soil pH range.

Two varieties that caught my eye and taste buds recently:  Rosemary 'Tuscan Blue' is very fragrant with a dense flowering habit. Rosemary ‘Gold Dust’ has variegated foliage and a slightly different flavor that is amazing when combined with equal parts butter and olive oil and used to brush over prawns as they grill. Look for these and others arriving soon at your local garden center. Golddust.detail



Herbs Rosemary humor


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marcydiané commented on 06/01/12
I sympathize with your loss! It is so sad when a plant dies on you, and trust me, I know the feeling. Thanks for the varieties- I moves up to PNW a while back, but am still trying to get my garden together- always good to know what works up here in this cold wet weather.
FigTree commented on 03/31/12