The temperatures have definitely shifted here and we are past Halloween; it's time to be thinking toward the warmth and traditions of the holidays ahead. Rosemary has been a staple of this time of year in my life–for both its culinary value and as a durable evergreen decoration that graces both entry and hearth. I crave the familiar evergreen cone that gives its fragrance and texture and that offers the designer in me the ideal centerpiece for seasonal color containers.
Rosemary is one of the greatest 'bang-for-your-buck' investments for the gardener as it's perfect to plant out in the garden after the holidays. Its botanical name, Rosmarinus, means 'dew of the sea'–it's native to the Mediterranean, where it thrives in poor, gravelly soils, and in many instances, needed only the dew of the sea for moisture to survive. While the standard upright Rosemary varieties can grow quite large, they lend themselves well to shaping, which is why we find them the perfect candidates for sculpting for our holiday decorations.
We currently have a selection of shapes and sizes to choose from; they make an ideal gift this time of year for both co-workers and the host or hostess on your list–or if you're like me, to keep all for yourself!
Rosemary is surrounded by folklore and legend, but my favorite is as the 'herb of remembrance'–Greek scholars were said to tuck sprigs of Rosemary in their tunics or behind their ears while studying to improve memory. I think this adds to its appeal for the holidays–as we enter into the colder months and gather together to celebrate our individual traditions, we enjoy the memories we've shared and look forward to those we'll make in the new year.