Rosmarinus

Rosemary

Studious Greeks twined Rosemary in their hair “for remembrance” before exams; the French burned it as an incense substitute in cathedrals. And of course, there’s the taste—pungent and aromatic, a pinch delivers a punch of flavor. The rugged, picturesque evergreens of this genus resemble short-needled pines studded with tiny blue orchids.

Rosemarys are never fussy, take heat and poor soil, are truly pest and deer resistant, and only improve with age. Good drainage is preferred.

That’s Arp, Texas, where one ol’ specimen is still growing strong at 80. An upright shrub with gray-green foliage and light blue flowers, ‘Arp’ is most at home inland, where it opens outward in the heat; on the coast its habit is more compact, but still handsome.

Blooms March–July.

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 8.

Upright, with a tidy, tight-knit character that showcases broad, attractive foliage and vividly dark, violet-blue flowers, ‘Herb Cottage’ originated at the Cathedral Herb Garden in Washington, D.C. This bushy, culinary delight is favored for its good looks and deserves a spot in your herb garden or a container alongside a well traveled path.

Blooms January–April.

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 8.

<i>Rosmarinus officinalis</i> ‘Irene’

Discovered as a volunteer seedling in northern California, ‘Irene’s low mounding habit is much improved over older prostrate Rosemarys. Dense, gray-green, narrow leaves make a vigorous show on long, pendant branches, and the richly colored blue-violet flowers are larger and more profuse than those displayed by other trailing cultivars. Let it cascade down a wall or over the lip of an easily viewed terracotta vessel. Rosemary Irene (PP#9124)

Blooms January–April.

Size: 12" – 2' 0" high x 4' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 8.

Dubbed for the renown herbal enthusiast from Texas, ‘Madeline Hill’ is not only a good-looking tough cookie hardy to below 0°, but she’s a savory delight as well. Intensely fragrant, rich green needle-style leaves, which are broader than ‘Arp’s cloak her robust, pale green upright stems. Wielding a not-too-tall bushy guise, this well branched Rosemary is generously sprinkled with engaging light blue flowers. Never fussy, it takes heat and poor soil, resists pests and deer and only improves with age. Good drainage is preferred.

Blooms January–April.

Size: 3' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 6.

A welcome departure from the typical blue blossoms associated with the genus, this attractive upright Mediterranean denizen debuts lovely pastel lavender pink flowers amongst minute short needled gray-green leaves. Wafting crisp slightly fruity aromas, the trim loosely arranged foliage garnishes stiff steadfast branches and makes a stellar evergreen hedge for the herb garden or a water-thrifty planting, consorting with like-minded low maintenance companions such as Correa alba ‘Bronze Select’, Cistus ‘Natacha’ and Eriogonum ‘Little Rascal’.

Blooms January–May

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 8.

We found ‘Maltese White’ at Bob Brown’s Cotswold Nursery in England, and presume this little known bushy Rosemary was discovered and named by some plantsperson traveling around the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta. Small, bright clusters of snowy white blooms decorate its silvery stems and resinous green-gray needles. A restful medley of color, these soothing hues will convey a courtly air to your Mediterranean border.

Blooms January – April.

Size: 3' 0" – 3-1/2' high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 8.

A gift from our friend Jim Lockman, ‘Santa Barbara Blue’ seems to be known only in small gardening circles in California. Densely clustered needles lend a finely textured look to this upright evergreen with elegantly sweeping lower branches. The azure-blue flowers beautifully complement the concurrent blooms of Cistus ‘Red Eye’ and the deep green foliage contrasts strikingly with gray-leafed Teucrium fruticans (Select Form).

Blooms January–May.

Size: 5' 0" high x 4' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 8.

Celebrated as an excellent choice for topiary, this tall standing Britishman has stiffly upright branches. Aromatic, narrow green leaves make a savory seasoning, while bright bluish purple flowers bring a little bit of the heavens down to earth.

Clipped into fanciful shapes, hedged or left au naturale, ‘Sawyer’s Blue’ melds with other water wise plants such as Teucriums, Carex glauca and Lavandula ‘Lullingstone Castle’.

Blooms January – April.

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Zone 7/8.

<i>Rosmarinus officinalis</i> ‘Taylor’s Blue’

If you are short on space, consider this compact well-groomed Rosemary introduced by the late Ken Taylor. A no-fuss ‘Collingwood Ingram’ sport, the close-set, shiny deep green leaves on trailing and upward arching stems are loaded with bright lavender-blue blooms. ‘Taylor’s Blue’ can be tucked into a dry area where its dark, fine textured needles offset Cistus ‘Tania Compton’s rippled gray-green foliage.

Blooms January – April.

Size: 2' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Zone 7/8.

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Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Helianthus 'Sheila's Sunshine', Persicaria 'Summer Dance', and Selinum wallichianum

Helianthus ‘Sheila’s Sunshine - P-0461

The sunflower was once an emblem of the Sun God of the Incas. Our sunflowers tolerate a wide range of garden soils, attract bees, and make great cut flowers. Blooms early August – October.

Persicaria ‘Summer Dance’ - P-1312

With foliage that’s close to lime-green, and spiky floral tails that approach the scarlet spectrum of rosy pink, this slow spreading perennial is sure to please. Happiest in semishade with ample moisture. Blooms August–November.

Selinum wallichianum - P-1406

This refined Himalayan beauty happens to be one of our favorite perennial umbellifers. With untold elegance, infinitely divided leaves craft a delicate, lacelike transparency. The compact yet airy green canopy is framed by distinctive, purple-infused branching stems that elevate a charming, late season display of white flattened umbels.

Subduing the riotous array of summertime blooms, it seldom needs staking, and appreciates a well draining moist niche. Blooms June–August.

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