Rosmarinus - Kitchen Garden Essential

"As for rosemary I lette it runne all over my garden walls, not onlie because my bees love it, but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance and to friendship, whence a sprig of it hath a dumb language" Sir Thomas More

(Rosmarinus officinalis)
The Mediterranean.
Type - Perennial (evergreen).
Hardiness (see References, below - Zones 7 - 10.
Bloom - Summer, Fall, early Winter.
Height - Approx. 6 ft. (2 m).
Cultivation - Sunny exposure, best. Slightly alkaline or neutral soils, with good drainage. Can be grown indoors, or outdoors.
Propagation - Best by tip cuttings (see section Propagating ABC-Rosemary).
Fragrant foliage, edible blooms! Sun loving, and profoundly fragrant, Rosemary comes from coastal areas of Southern Europe, and Northern Africa. Its name has likely originated either from Greek (rops=shrub, and myron=balm), or Latin (ros=dew, marinus=marine). A potent and versatile herb (fresh, and dry), Rosemary rewards culinary efforts, and brings new dimension to the taste of breads, marinades, meats, stuffings, cordials, teas, butter, jelly, fruit, soups, sauces, and salads, alike.
There is, however, more to Rosemary than just great fragrance, and flavor. It makes our food, and us healthier, too. Large-scale fresh meat packaging plants use Rosemary's essences to inhibit bacteria. Rosemary powder sprinkled on meats, decreases amounts of carcinogenic substances (created during grilling process), that cause cancers. Rosemary oils help treating nervous attacks such as asthma, vertigo and epilepsy. They also stimulate blood flow, particularly in the skin, and some hair products such as tonics, and shampoos, use Rosemary to enable healthier hair growth. Rosemary's essences are also used in aromatherapy, -with invigorating effect.
In the XIV c., Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary in her advanced years, used Rosemary Water (since then known as “Queen of Hungary Water”) for her many ailments.
In his work, Selectiora remedia multiplici usu comprobata, quae inter secretamedica jure recenseas, published in 1656, John Prevot, apparently included this statement by the Queen of Hungary:
'I Elizabeth, queen of Hungary, being very infirm and much troubled with the gout in the seventy-second year of my age, used for a year this receipt given to me by an ancient hermit who I never saw before nor since; and was not only cured, but recovered my strength, and appeared to all so remarkably beautiful that the king of Poland asked me in marriage, he being a widower and I a widow. I however refused him for the love of my Lord Jesus Chrsit, from one of whose angels I believe I recieved the remedy....
...It renovates the strength, brightens the spirits, purifies the marrow and nerves, restores and preserves the sight, and prolongs life.'
Rosemary is a highly symbolic plant.
Anne of Cleves, future wife of Henry VIII, dressed herself, and pathway to altar with Rosemary on her wedding day, as did many other ladies of that time, symbolizing loyalty, and love to their husbands to be. Passed the wedding, Rosemary was, and still is a prized plant to grow for a bride, since according to an old saying: “-where Rosemary flourishes, the mistress rules”. In Greek tradition poor memory as well as bad (evil) dreams, and spirits can be improved/ kept at bay by Rosemary, burnt as incense, or kept in a close proximity of ones body. In another tradition, mourners used to leave Rosemary sprigs at burial sites, as William Shakespeare put it: "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.", W. Shakespeare, Hamlet (IV:5). Grand households, and ordinary ones alike, used Rosemary to keep air clean, and bug free. Fresh cuttings were gathered and scattered on the floor, daily, for that purpose. Medieval hospitals used Rosemary incense for the same reason.
This tradition still continues; sprigs of Rosemary in closets, do keep moths away (and make your garments smell great). Rosemary's good in pot pourris, and commercially produced air fresheners, and bug repellents. Classic herb, Rosemary; beautiful, and incredibly useful plant, to have around.
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References - Find more about: Hardiness Zones
Special Thanks
Special Thanks to Town & Country Gardens Contributors: blogger, dive-angel (Karin), flickr, Jasmine&Roses, Rita Crane Photography. Rita Crane, daughter of LIFE magazine photographer Ralph Crane. Her work can be seen on Flickr at Rita Crane Photography or on her website., TMR Davies, W.D. Williams

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