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Gardening: Rosemary traditions

Recently I was dreading leaving home to head off for a little day surgery and I knew those needles were going to hurt. So as I walked onto my porch, I smelled Rosemary and I took a moment to rub some on my hands for the calming feeling I was hoping for. 


Taking a moment to look at that beautiful blooming flowering Rosemary hanging almost 20 inches down from a planter, I then thought: “This is a  Paul Church moment!”  


For several years, I was blessed to spend a few hours each month with Paul, who was the award-winning photographer for our local newspaper. I’d write stories about various gardening topics for Thrive magazine and Paul would take photographs of the subjects in my stories — he always did magic with his Nikon. He taught me so much about photography and looking for the right angle and the best light. Oh, the stories I could tell you of those photo shoots, but maybe I’ll write a book later. To this day, when I see a “Paul Church photo opportunity,” I take advantage by snapping a picture and posting it on social media.


On this day, that thought took my mind off the pain I was expecting. Yes, those six shots did hurt, but I was holding my smart phone and viewing the photos and smelling the Rosemary scent on my hands. And while the surgeon did his thing, I did mine cropping and posting a few photos, never thinking how many comments I’d receive. I realized this would make a good article to help educate people about this particular plant that you just have to have, called Rosemary.


Salvia Rosmarinus, commonly known as Rosemary, is a shrub with fragrant needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple or blue flowers. 


There are basically two types of Rosemary — those that grow upright and those that grow as a ground cover.  Beyond that fact, it gets a little bit more complex, especially since one variety can be sold under several different names. 


I love the aroma of Rosemary and that is why I grow it, for the woodsy smell, although many folks grow it for cooking.


I grow the creeping Rosemary in window boxes and container gardens and usually get several years in one container followed by several more years when I transplant it to the ground.  It can get a little out of hand because of how fast it grows, but it does well with pruning.


Benefits for growing Rosemary are many, but the woodsy pine-like smell is my reason.  The natural health benefits range from relieving body aches and pains to stimulating hair growth. But I’ve got to add that if you feel a little stressed and need a quick pick-me-up, just take time to rub some on your hands. 


From the photo I posted of my trailing Rosemary, I received so many different comments from people saying that they had never seen this plant before. A friend from north Georgia said she had seen it growing in older cemeteries in their area, but until she saw my photo, she had no idea what it was. 


My favorite comment was actually in the form of a “thank you” from one of our local policewomen who said it brought back memories of growing up in Mexico and walking with her grandmother searching for that plant during the Christmas season because it was what they needed to line the manger of their Nativity scene before they would lay baby Jesus down. What a lovely thought, learning of that tradition and thinking of baby Jesus laying on aromatic Rosemary.