In the Garden:
Lower South
December, 2004
Regional Report

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Rosemary is a great holiday plant that can be carried on through the year as an outdoor container or landscape plant.

Versatile Rosemary Trees

Rosemary is a newcomer to the list of plants for holiday decorating. Nevertheless in my book it belongs near the top! Growers are producing plants sheared to a Christmas tree shape, which make wonderful decorations for inside and outside the home.

These mini trees can be decorated with bows, lights, miniature ornaments, or even small, dried peppers for a distinctive southwestern look. The plants make a great table centerpiece for a holiday gathering. They also make a special gift for friends visiting for a holiday get together.

Rosemary is wonderfully fragrant when touched. One of my small daughters loved to "hug" the mini tree. As she moved through the house you would think our place was an Italian restaurant from the strong scent she carried with her.

A Plant With Many Uses
While these plants are well suited to brief periods indoors, they do need lots of light to grow and thrive. In order to keep them looking great, place the plants in a bright window or leave them outdoors as much as possible. Otherwise the new growth will tend to stretch and get spindly and pale in color.

Outside, potted rosemary plants can decorate a porch or deck, and may be planted in a large container with other bedding plants around the base. They can take a light freeze but will need to be brought indoors when temperatures drop into the mid 20s, especially if they have been accustomed to the indoors or a warm greenhouse.

Unlike most other decorative holiday plants, rosemary can be planted outdoors in sunny areas of the landscape in the spring. Native to the Mediterranean region, the plant insists on excellent drainage and will rot if the roots and crown stay soggy wet. In the lower south they may overwinter as a landscape plant.

There are a number of varieties available for use in an herb garden or in the landscape. I am especially fond of the trailing types as they work well spilling over a stone wall or large container.

Give this versatile newcomer to the holidays a try this year. And buy an extra one or two for gardening friends.


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