Cases of manure contamination are still cropping up
see here so it's still important to take care when acquiring supplies. This is especially important in areas where Forefront weedkiller is used.

Harrod Horticultural have a sale - up to 50% off over 80 lines click here

Sarah Raven also has a sale click here

Monday, February 11

Do you want to improve your memory?

During the freezing cold conditions of winter 2010-11 we lost a couple of rosemary plants. For this reason we bought a creeping rosemary as it is supposed to be hardier than the upright variety.
As well as having a couple of upright rosemary bushes on the plot we have one growing in a pot in the garden. We like to have some herbs readily available to pick fresh when cooking.
This year, before the snow descended on us, the plants were looking good and producing flower buds which they seem to do for most of the year if conditions stay mild. You may even be able to spot flower buds and the odd fully open flower on the bush in the photo above which was taken today.

Like those of many herbs, rosemary flowers attract beneficial insects. 
Rosemary is a long lived, evergreen shrub which likes a sunny, sheltered position and grows well in poor soil. Despite this it seems to grow well on our   windy allotment site.  
Rosemary is a native of the Mediterranean area and, although ideally it should be planted in well drained soil, it grows well in our heavy soggy clay. Rosemary will stand very dry conditions and it doesn't need feeding. 

Our rosemary success just goes to show that it is worth trying to grow a plant even if you can't provide it with ideal conditions. As an insurance policy and to provide some fresh cooking material we also have a couple of rosemary plants in pots by the garden greenhouse.

To prevent the bush from becoming woody I give it a trim each year. 
Cue explanation of the title of the post. 
Most herbs have a mass of folklore and tradition attached to them and rosemary is no exception. In Ancient Greece, students regularly wore garlands of rosemary braided into their hair or around their necks in order to improve their memory when taking exams. Scientific research seems to conclude that the Greeks were correct in this belief and that rosemary indeed stimulates memory.

It is also believed it to be sacred to remembrance, love, loyalty and friendship. Anne of Cleves was supposed to have had sprigs of rosemary in her wedding posy but a fat lot of good it did her!

In the 16 and 17 centuries many believed that the aroma of rosemary would offer protection against the plague when it was worn around the neck, burned in sick rooms or used as an ingredient in a cordial.

Even today rosemary is said to have all manner of healing properties as described on this website.





Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

24 comments:

  1. I adore rosemary - I tried to germinate some seeds a couple of times but they're very slow and even when the seedlings did come up, they didn't thrive for long. So I bit the bullet and bought a nice little plant which seems to have come through the winter quite well. Lovely on roasted potatoes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can take cuttings easily Jules - if you want to increase your stock.

      Delete
  2. I should be eating it by the bucketful, my memory is shocking. I bought a tiny little cutting at a local fair last year. It's been in the greenhouse over winter, but it's looking good and has put on some growth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe you won't get a bucketful from your cutting this year, Jo so you need to look up a herb for improving patience

      Delete
  3. It is one of my favourite herbs. It used to live in a pot but it has romped away since I put it in the ground.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tend to give ours a trim each year, Jo

      Delete
  4. I have several Rosemary plants which are grown from cuttings. I don't give them much TLC I'm afraid, but they seem to thrive anyway. I lost a couple of potted specimens this time last year in the severe cold, though the ones growing in open soil got severely frost-burned but eventually recovered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We lost one on the plot growing in the ground, Mark - as did our plot neighbour. Its less sheltered in the plot than in the garden

      Delete
  5. I have a couple of rosemary plants but can I ask you when you trim yours? I tend to take small amounts as I need it for roasting with lamb and potatoes, but sometimes I wonder if it needs a hard trim sometimes. Thanks. Chel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I trim ours in spring but you can trim them in summer too, Chel. You trim them when there is no danger of imminent frost. You can reduve the size by about a third to encourage new growth. I cut out and dead or damaged bits first.

      Delete
  6. Lovely looking rosemary plants Sue. Mine are looking a little sorry for themselves, I want to shift them out of their pots and in to the ground, but at least I have cuttings from the main plant happily growing away in the greenhouse. I couldn't be without rosemary any more, both for the fragrance and for cooking with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe they've become root bound Janet. Mine are in clay pots and have lived in them happily for some years. Well the larger one has - the sprawling one just a couple of years.

      Delete
  7. I adore rosemary too and had no idea that it's supposedly good for memory! I must eat more in that case :) I love the smell and can't get enough of it. I have some right outside my front door and a constant selection drying in my kitchen. I love it in gravy!! I've only lost one plant and that was when my allotment neighbours took a shine to it and although they asked if they could take some I think they just stripped it back too much at the wrong time. Like you say though, it is easy to start off again from a cutting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So were your neighbours taking cuttings or using it for drying?

      Delete
  8. My absolute favourite herb is thyme, but rosemary comes as a good second. I have both in my garden but my rosemary is quite woody now. I have trimmed it, but maybe not enough? Perhaps it should get a good trim once spring is well on it's way - hopefully soon, I am sick of this cold weather!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd make sure you have plenty of cuttings before trimming it Helene as it is woody just in case it doesn't sprout new growth from the woody bits too well. You can trim by a third in spring and then give it another trim in summer.

      Delete
  9. I love the way rosemary smells. Great article, very informative. I'll be putting in a new herb garden this year so rosemary will be on the list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will it be a formal or informal herb garden Kelli?

      Delete
  10. I would also add that it regrows remarkably well from its roots. I tried to dig mine out a couple of years ago and missed some of its root system. It wasn't long before it was back and bigger than ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good to know Liz but maybe it is unwise to rely on it doing this every time.

      Delete
  11. I can't think why I haven't tried growing rosemary. The photos with the snow were especially encouraging but I suppose it would have to be grown in-house only here. Having fresh rosemary around must be very handy at dinnertime. It costs a fortune to buy sprigs of it at the grocery store, but I can't live with out it for my minestrone soup.

    Christine in Alaska, snow aplenty but no rosemary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it would probably need to be undercover in your area Christine

      Delete
  12. I have rosemary in the garden and on the plot..I also picked up another yesterday to put on my 'bee' plot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The bees will thank you and give you rosemary flavoured honey Tanya

      Delete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment - it is great to hear from you and know that there are people out there actually reading what I write! Come back soon.
(By the way any comments just to promote a commercial site, or any comments not directly linked to the theme of my blog, will be deleted)
I'm getting quite a lot of spam. It isn't published and is just deleted. I've stopped sifting through it and just delete any that ends up in my spam folder in one go so I'm sorry if one of your messages is deleted accidentally.