Thursday, February 9, 2012

Flowering Potted Rosemary

a potted rosemary bush flowering prettily

Rosemary has turned out to be one of the easiest herbs to grow in our potted garden here in sub-tropical Brisbane. Our 3 year old plant is currently flowering very prettily with delicate little lilac blossoms. It's so easy to grow, I recommend it as one of the first herbs to try.

Even if you don't use rosemary in your cooking, this is such a nice herb to have in your garden because its so lovely and fragrant. Just break a small piece off and sniff for an instant boost! Rosemary is a very useful herb to have fresh on hand and goes especially well when cooking lamb. Check out my husband's cooking blog, Dave's Home Cooking, for ideas on how to use rosemary in your cooking, especially this yummy Beef Casserole and Rosemary Dumplings recipe! Rosemary is also a great herb to add to craft projects like scented pillows and bath soaks.

my three year old potted rosemary bush
This particular specimen is 3 years old, it was one of the first herbs we grew in our potted garden. It grew from a cutting either from our old flat or my mother in law's garden. If you take a cutting, you need to keep it moist if you put it straight in the soil, it won't take if it gets too dry. So far I've only managed 2 successful cuttings.

Rosemary must have full sun and good drainage, our potted rosemary bushes don't have sauces underneath. A common problem that happens here to a very young rosemary bush in its first year is a white mould, probably because you treat a younger plant more delicately with a little shade and a little more water. To remove the white mould from the small plant you simply rub it off with your fingers or a damp cloth. When you remove enough mould for the green of the plant to show through it will fight off the fungus. Both my rosemary bushes suffered from this in their first year, but recovered after a rubbing and placement in full sun. We've not seen the white mould return to an older plant after the initial attack.

drying a posy of rosemary
Rosemary is a woody herb, which means it has bark on it's little trunk. It doesn't like its roots to sit in water or the wood will rot. Rosemary and lavender are related, so you treat them same way in your potted garden. Both prefer full sun, good drainage and not too much water.

I prune the bushes when they get scraggly, I try and keep them in a general shape to match the pot. I then pass on the cuttings to my husband for his cooking, or I dry them by tying them together and hanging the posy upside down. You can use the dried herbs by removing the leaves from the stems.

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