Ah, rosemary: she’s a tough cookie, yet still tender. Rosemary will take very cold temperatures, but unless you have a hardy variety, you must invite her inside for the winter.
Rosemary makes a pleasant houseguest, yet can prove fickle indoors. She demands your sunniest window, some ventilation, and just the right amount of water. Like Goldilocks, rosemary wants everything just right. Currently, I keep my large container of rosemary near a window with a southern exposure and a draft from the evaporative cooler. Rosemary seems to like that coolness. In this spot, I’ve had rosemary bloom, presenting tiny, bluish, orchid-shaped flowers. (Note: The flowers in the photo are pansies.)
I’ve also had rosemary plants bite the dust, usually doomed by powdery mildew.
I keep my rosemary in full sun in my secret garden until frosts fall. Then I move the plants to the glassed-in area of my front porch. I bring them in before temperatures drop too low.
One year, I set out my venerable old plant too early, and a late frost torched the big plant.
You’ll want to keep an eye on rosemary while she’s spending the winter indoors. Watch for leaves that turn brown–too dry–or white–powdery mildew.
I just read in a dated book titled “Potpourri: Incense and Other Concoctions” this interesting, ancient rosemary folklore: “…rosemary is as woman to man and white rose to red. It is an Holy tree, and with folk that been just and rightfulle it groweth and thryveth.”
Be just and be rightful, and try your green thumb at this evergreen herb. Check your favorite greenhouses: You might find some leftover rosemary topiary shaped to resemble Christmas trees.
The rewards of fresh rosemary during winter are plenty. There’s her piney scent, said to stimulate memory. And, of course, her culinary properties: a few wands of fresh rosemary for roasted chicken or baby red potatoes or a sprig of rosemary garnishing a plate makes the bit of extra horticultural anxiety worthwhile. Snip away at your plant. Don’t be shy: Cutting rosemary back encourages new growth.
Colleen Smith’s debut novel Glass Halo, set in Denver, was a finalist for the Santa Fe Literary Prize and was praised in the latest issue of The Bloomsbury Review. The novel is available online and through your favorite bookstore.
To learn more, visit FridayJonesPublishing.com and GlassHaloNovel.com, become a friend on Facebook, or follow FridayPublisher on Twitter.