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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rosemary

The scent of Rosemary is fresh, bracing, and quite invigorating.  Reminds me of Pine-scented air fresheners. It has an enticing aroma and it is positively mouth-watering, specially if it emanates from the oven, admixed with the heady vapors of lemon oils, roasted chicken, and garlic.  Ahhh!

Picture taken from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary


In spite of the fact that it ranks high in my list of favorite herbs, I do very little with it, actually.  I can only think of two dishes:  topped on focaccia, and baked inside the chicken recipe I just described.

Hence, I keep more pots of rosemary than I ever need.  Most of the sprigs end up as decor on gift boxes in lieu of ribbons - a bundle of fresh rosemary is a visual and olfactory delight, and the recipients can make use of it in their kitchen. Far more use than an ordinary non-biodegradable length of ribbon.

Growing Rosemary, however, is a bit of a challenge.  I used to have twenty pots of rosemary, all in a row -and one by one died on me.  I think they were severely over-watered.

Now, Rosemary does not like to keep her feet wet.  Far from being a dainty creature, it is actually a robust shrub, used to harsh conditions and sparse nutrients on Mediterranean soil.  Since I learned that rosemary prefers to be the alkaline side of the pH scale, I added crushed marble stones, easily available in construction supply stores, in the potting mix.  This also enhances drainage which is a boon for this dry-loving plants.  I'd rather see the plants a bit on the dry side, rather than water logged.

For the past 5 years, I seem to be doing well with rosemary.  I found a spot which they seem to prefer - bright but filtered sunlight, and full morning sun.  We keep the potting mix loose and well-draining - not a lot of organic material.  And we don't re-pot it too frequently.

I figured, after killing a lot of rosemary plants with too much kindness, that this plant actually thrives on a bit of neglect, and suffocates with too much care.  As with a lot of things in life. 

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