I got a pretty Rosemary plant for my herb garden. I have a creeping Rosemary, but Tuscan Blue Rosemary is much bigger, and can get 6 feet tall. The one indisputable thing a tall Rosemary can do better than a cascading one is provide flavorable skewers for shish kebabs. Yum.
Why has it taken me 3 years to get around to it? Laziness, pretty much. Rosemary doesn’t do well in my sunny spots because they are too windy and zone 5 plants accustomed to dry, dessicating winds survive better. I have planted some windbreak trees, maybe later. I have a perfect 5’x5′ spot for it, but… it required digging up 4 inches of lava rock that has been buried in dust over a heavy plastic barrier, with some buried concrete chunks.
In the photo you can see where I am pulling out the plastic underlayment. The good news is that the lava rock has started disintegrating into a red clay high in minerals. I distributed a few shovels full of this to my raised beds. I replaced them with a Homer bucket of my good calcium carbonate soil because although Rosemary is smaller on chalky soils, it is more fragrant and the essential oils are cconcentrated. Concentrated properties are important for spices and medicinal purposes.
Here is the pile of plastic and concrete I dug out. Now I can’t stomp across the bed as a shortcut. Oops. It was compacted and hard. You can also see the 2×12 wabi sabi fence behind it.
I did get it dug up and my little Tuscan Blue Rosemary planted.
This bed is more or less triangular and will be just the right size for the Tuscan Blue Rosemary when it is full grown. Until then, I will plant something nice around it, to be determine
Other than its use as a spice, Rosemary is a nice addition to a vegetable bed because it discourages pests. In any event, it attracts honeybees and butterflies to the garden.
Rosemary has a long history of medicinal uses and some notable research is being done on its chemical properties. Several things on the long list caught my eye, including its efficacy to treat high blood pressure, so much so that you should consult with your physician before taking it.
On a less serious note, it makes a wonderful shampoo and can prevent premature baldness! I don’t have male pattern baldness but the shampoo sounds wonderful so I will set aside my yerba de la negrita (grows in my yard) infusion for a trial run with a Rosemary infusion. Yerba de la negrita with its gray-green foliage and orange flowers would look pretty around the Rosemary, but I hate to waste the warm spot on something that grows everywhere here.
I sometimes add Rosemary to my teas and will dry some of its needles for cooking and winter teas, as I do every year. Another of its many uses is to strengthen capillaries and reduce macular degeneration, and I will take it for that. As I get older I can sure use strong capillaries.
The extract is said to be anti-tumor and anti-cancer. Sounds great, but Rosemary is pretty strong and can interfere with a number of prescriptions like anticoagulants, ACE inhibitors used for high blood pressure, diuretics, and especially lithum. Rosemary is a diuretic and can cause lithium levels to reach toxic levels.
I am neither pregnant nor on medications, so I can use a bit of Tuscan Blue Rosemary to spice up my meals and winter teas. Rosemary is used in perfume making and soapmaking, which I want to learn. I have been growing a perfume fixative for a couple years, and when it is ready, I will have plenty of wonderful aromas to create perfumes.