There’s no doubt about it. Every Texas garden needs at least one rosemary bush. This hardy herb is reliable, fragrant, and plays well with others in the garden. Here are five varieties to consider for your home garden:
• Arp – This varieties was discovered in the little town of Arp, Texas about 90 miles east of Dallas. It is cold hardy and grows about four feet tall. Flowers are light blue.
• Tuscan Blue – Probably my personal favorite, this one grows straight up with deep green glossy leaves and bright blue flowers. It grew for nearly a decade in my North Texas garden and will do well in yours too.
• Prostrate – If you have a rock garden or a sloped garden, this one is for you. It grows horizontally and will cascade over the side of a wall or a container. Definitely underused in today’s landscape.
• Hill Hardy – Named by Texas’ own Madeline Hill, this is a winter-hardy rosemary with pale blue to violet flowers. The form of this rosemary is sometimes irregular so keep it trimmed to the size you want.
• Spice Islands – Relatively new to the nursery world, ‘Spice Islands’ has a strong spicy flavor and grey green leaves. Flowers are dark blue to purple. Unofficially believed to be called “Spice Islands” because this was the rosemary favored by the Spice Islands herb and spice company.
For all these rosemary varieties, plant in a sunny location with good drainage. Rosemary likes it hot and relatively dry. Be sure to allow enough room for the young plant to grow. Many of these will grow to four feet in diameter and perhaps twice as tall. Prune lightly twice a year to maintain the shape you’re looking for. Use the fresh clipping in meat marinades and barbecue.