Fagus Times - May Plant of the Month - Rosemary
Rosemary, formerly Rosmarinus officinalis, has had a reclassification to the scientific name Salvia rosmarinus although it still seems difficult to think of rosemary as a salvia!
At this time of year rosemary is teaming in flowers and subsequently bees. Rosemary’s nectar-rich flowers are an absolute magnet for pollinators; all the more reason to add this fantastic shrubby perennial herb to your garden. It also flowers twice per season; first in spring and then summer.
Rosemary is low maintenance and once established basically looks after itself. Resist feeding with fertiliser, rosemary thrives in poor sandy soil situated in full sun.
Originating from the Mediterranean, rosemary prefers well-draining gritty soil and is happy in the ground or in pots. Enjoy stunning varieties such as ‘Majorca Pink’ ‘Miss Jessopps’ Upright’ (blue) or white rosemary Salvia rosmarinus f. albiflorus. Just keep an eye out for rosemary beetle.
Like with most herbs they benefit from being cut back, this rejuvenates plants and prevents them getting woody, keeping stems fresh and young. Just be aware that rosemary flowers on second year growth so to have a shrub covered in blooms you will need to avoid hard pruning to get the maximum floral display.
As well as being perfect for pollinators, rosemary is great for the senses; it is a very tactile plant. Planted along a path, the scent will waft up as you brush alongside it. Run your hand through the stems to enjoy the aroma and of course it’s evergreen leaves taste great in recipes - fresh or dried.
This aromatic herb has many medicinal properties. Rosemary actually makes a great herbal tea and is famed to improve concentration and memory. Apparently Greek scholars would wear a rosemary garland during their exams. It’s poignant scent certainly does pack a punch! It was even tucked under pillows in medieval times to ward off nightmares as well being used as a remedy for toothache and fevers. As a symbol of remembrance, rosemary often featured at weddings and funerals.
All photos © Debi Holland 2022