Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

My Poor But Resilient Rosemary

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It is said that a Rosemary plant can suffer from too much attention rather than too little. It is also said that Rosmarinus officinalis doesn’t need endless sunshine and a Mediterranean climate to grow successfully. All you need, it is said, is sun, good drainage and good air circulation.

Mind you none of this takes into consideration the fact that some of us live in a four season climate. And come the dead days of November, when the temperature starts to dip below 30 degrees F., a lot of folk just give up and let the frost do what it will with Rosemary.

But, not I. I try, year after year, to save her from the cold. And not always with any great success.

When I lived in temperate Toronto there were a couple of times when I managed to keep her alive through winter, only to watch her wither and die indoors the following year. They say, when you bring Rosemary indoors, she needs 6 to 8 hours of full sun…if you can’t provide, then artificial lights may be necessary. Heat apparently, is not as important as sunlight. Then with the threat of powdery mildew, aphids and spider mites, it can be a little tricky to keep Rosemary happy inside…to say the least. It is a challenge…always.

Last year I tried and failed again.

This winter, N suggested Rosemary spend time beside Hibiscus in the afternoon light of the patio doors. We watered sparingly and sprayed faithfully. We watched it flower. N clipped for a constant supply of fresh culinary seasoning. I loved to run my hands through her branches and breath in her refreshing, fragrant, almost minty odor.

Happily April arrived with a welcome warmth. And she is back outside where she belongs. Rosemary made it through.

She is a little worse for the experience. Not as full and lush as when we took her in from the cold. If fact she is half of what she was. Nonetheless she has a full summer ahead of her to recover and grow strong for next winter’s indoor season.

Those who delve into this sort of thing claim Rosemary has a very old reputation for improving memory. It has been used as a symbol for remembrance as well. Ophelia in Hamlet, iv. 5. says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”

Here’s hoping our Rosemary remembers how much she was cared for this past winter and keeps that memory alive next time we bring her in from the cold.


Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

April 7, 2010 at 3:33 PM

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