Arbor Gate's Picks
of the Month

Hill Hardy Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Madalene Hill’)

December 8, 2016 Back to Picks >

The Arbor Gate’s monthly ‘Herb Picks’ for 2014 honor the memory of Madalene Hill and celebrate her pioneering work in bringing herbs to all the gardeners of the Gulf South (and beyond). Each month’s herb is closely associated with Madalene.

February 2014 marks the fifth anniversary of the dedication of the Madalene Hill Herb Garden at The Arbor Gate.

She was our teacher, mentor, and friend.

One of the best upright rosemary varieties for our climate; it was named for Madalene Hill in recognition of the extensive research she conducted over the years to determine which of the rosemary varieties will perform best in the South.

Generally speaking, rosemary is one of the best-loved herbs and it probably has more tradition associated with it than any other herb in Western civilization. Indispensable as a culinary herb, it has also been used for medicinal and aromatic purposes and in potpourris and for dried crafts, such as wreaths. References to rosemary occur throughout history, even before Shakespeare wrote memorably in Hamlet, “Rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”

Numerous varieties, both upright and prostrate, can be successfully grown in the Gulf Coast region, with ‘Arp’ and ‘Hill Hardy’ both associated with Madalene Hill. Both are fine upright culinary varieties, having the characteristic shrub-like growth and attaining heights of 3 to 4 feet. Both have green to light gray, fine-textured leaves.

Rosemary Culture: A rewarding plant to grow, rosemary has few problems. It needs excellent drainage; though full sun is desirable, rosemary can tolerate a considerable amount of high shade. Since it has many tiny, shallow roots, rosemary is sensitive about water – neither too much nor too little, as starving for water causes it to wilt. Heavy mulching will help it survive cold spells and also the high heat of summer. Prune dead or damaged portions in early spring.