Rosemary (Rosmarinus) is a most versatile and useful herb in the home, being both culinary and medicinal. Although we have written about Rosemary a few times before, please see our other blogs on the myth and magic of rosemary, its culinary properties or its use as a herbal infusion, there is still more to say.
Rosemary is from the family Lamiaceae and is therefore related to, for example, Basil, Thyme and Mint. On the farm we grow over 30 types of Rosemary. They are an evergreen shrub with a height between 10 cm to 1 m and a spread between 50 cm to 1 m depending on habit. The small flowers vary in colour from white & pink to pale or dark blue. They are grouped into three main habits, as explained in Jekka's new book 'A Pocketful of Herbs' , prostrate, upright and arching (a mixture of both). This makes them ideal for either ground cover, edging onto gravel or hanging over a wall.
We are fortunate on the herb farm to have cultivated a number of new species (see the blog New Herbs for 2019) such as Rosmarinus officinalis 'Jekka's Stardust' and Rosmarinus officinalis 'Jekka's Blue'. An increasingly popular variety with chefs is Rosmarinus officinalis 'Green Ginger' due to its great versatile culinary flavour. You can see our collection at our Open Days.
Jekka's tips for Rosemary are:
- When pruning stay within the green, do not cut back where it is just wooden stems as it cannot reshoot.
- When taking cuttings choose a non flowering shoot.
- A small sprig can make a lovely reviving tisane.
- If planted near carrots it is reputed to repel carrot fly.
- On a barbecue use the twigs as skewers for lamb. This not only makes the lamb taste good but also the BBQ smell lovely - as it's name suggests, Rosmarinus officinalis 'Barbecue ' is ideal for this.
- Rosemary does very well in pots, top tip, use a soil based potting compost.
Rosemary is associated with remembrance and for hundreds of years it was used to improve the memory and only recently has it been proven to do just that. We have partnered with Candide, a gardening community app for both inspiration and knowledge, to produce some short guides on Herbs within Jekka's Herbetum. The first one, made earlier this year, is below and delves into the properties of Rosemary and some of the history of this versatile herb.