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Practical Gardening: Rosemary

Gardening is such a wonderful combination of beauty and practicality. On one hand, you get beautiful blooms or colors with varying shapes and sizes that creates a work of art for the eye. On the other, you can use these plants for food, medicine, or indoor décor. Rosemary is the perfect plant to add to your garden because of how many uses it has. We’re going to talk about how to get the most out of your rosemary plant, from care to how to use it in a fun cocktail.

There are two basic types of rosemary- upright shrub form and ground cover. However, the care is very similar. Rosemary typically thrives in zones 7-10, so it’s a perennial here in Savannah. It is usually grown in containers, which makes it easy to move indoors if there is a cold snap. Rosemary tends to prefer a drier soil, so terra cotta pots are a great choice for container. Perfect for the Savannah area, rosemary likes heat, sun, and high humidity. When watering rosemary, make sure the soil is dry and then water in short increments until water comes through the drainage hole. You can fertilize rosemary once a week with a weak solution of nitrogen high formula during its growing period. During the fall and winter, withhold fertilizer so that the plant can focus on its roots. Pruning is necessary for rosemary just like most plants. After rosemary blooms is a great time to cut back, however, never take more than a third of the plant off. Taking too much off can shock the plant and cause it to die.

There are so many uses for rosemary outside of its garden container. A common practice is to dry rosemary. You can either air dry it or put it in an oven or dehydrator. While the oven can be a quick way of doing it, be careful not to burn the leaves. To air dry, simply tie and hang the rosemary sprigs in a dark, dry, cool place. With dried rosemary, you can make spice/tea blends, potpourri, or use it for home décor, such as a wreath element. Fresh rosemary can be used in various recipes as an ingredient or as an element of presentation. It can also be cooked down into a simple syrup for drink recipes (see below). Rosemary has several homeopathic benefits as well. It can be used to help reduce inflammation in joints, relieve headaches, and reduce stress. I think we all could use a container, or two, or ten, of rosemary. If you need help with your garden containers, call Savannah Interior Plant Designs at 508-801-6015. We can help you design, install, and maintain planters, always striving to create a world of beauty!

Lemon and Rosemary Bourbon Sour

4 servings


  • Rosemary Simple Syrup

  • 8 ounces bourbon

  • 4 ounces fresh lemon juice

  • Ice cubes, for shaking and serving

  • Sprigs of rosemary, for garnish (optional)

-Combine first four ingredients in shaker. Garnish with lemon and rosemary sprig

-To make simple syrup, combine 6 tbsp water, 6 tbsp of sugar, and 3 large sprigs of rosemary. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and let cool.

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