Rethinking Rosemary

Rosemary prefers drier soil with good drainage.
Here is my rosemary's new home, a site with full sun and better drainage than the site before.

By Renee Adam

After I cleared and prepped my vegetable beds, I really took notice of how nice and neat they looked when I took pictures for this post. It was then that I noticed the two rosemary plants I had planted last year. Ha! They looked better than ever. Even though I’d walked past those beds three or four times a week, I hadn’t even noticed these rosemary bushes I had planted last year…didn’t really even give them a thought other than telling myself I needed to pull them because they had looked so bad at the end of summer. And yet, here they were, sitting there looking better than ever. It got me thinking.

Okay…backtrack a minute. Every time I go into my hair salon, I always notice their incredible rosemary, and I always comment on how great it looks and how no matter what I did I could never get my rosemary to look that good. And I am always told the same thing after every compliment: “We don’t touch it.”

Rosemary doesn't like wet soil.
Too much love, and too much water, can really harm rosemary plants. That was my problem here.

Aha! Now I have discovered their secret. I had the drip system shut off all winter so I wasn’t watering the rosemary. I hadn’t even planted any veggies in that bed, so I’d forgotten about the rosemary, really. When I looked back over a journal entry from last September, I had notes that they were brown and almost dead and looked like spiders had spun webs in them. Hmmm….and now, here they were after I hadn’t touched them or watered them or cared for them….better than ever, really.

The secret to rosemary….. LEAVE IT ALONE! (Light bulb!) Yes, I am the link here between rosemary success and rosemary failure. Living in zone 8 (you should know your planting zone), rosemary will most likely be successful if you follow planting directions. In a world where the trend is “more is better,” in nature, sometimes and more often than that, really, “less is more.” In the case of rosemary, less is definitely more! Less water, less attention, less messing with all together.

If I had just taken a minute to research it a bit more, I would have known that I just needed to get the rosemary out of the well-watered bed where I plant my veggies and place it where it had better drainage. I had to take it out of the drip system which was watering it every day and get it in the full sun. I was the one killing it. The rosemary didn’t need me…it needed me to leave it be!

I know I’m going on and on about this, but it really gives me a bigger picture about a lot of things I need to rethink in our garden that haven’t done as well as expected.

I’ve included the before and after pictures that show where they were and where they now reside. I’ve placed them where they will have good drainage and full sun, where we can watch them from our kitchen window and leave them alone to thrive and grow!