Far Out Flora – Bees love rosemary

Hey Ocean Beach peeps, how’s it going? The gorgeous winter sun is finally waking up one of our favorite herbs to grow: rosemary. Why is this plant so cool for the OB? It thrives in our Mediterranean climate; attracts bees; has a ton of tiny, fragrant flowers – and you can eat it.

rosemary with bee

Here’s the skinny on rosemary, aka Rosmarinus officinalis. When shopping for this guy, you’ll find a bunch of varieties that range from those that like to hug the ground all the way to upright treelike forms. It’s always best to check the plant label or ask your nursery person, but here a couple that we frequently see in our area. “Tuscan Blue” grows upright about 4-6 feet tall and wide, with bluish lavender flowers. If you’re looking for something more compact, check out “Roman Beauty,” which keeps to about 1-3 feet tall and wide and a little more violet blooms. Finally a sweet cascading grower is “Trailing Blue,” a great plant with bluish-violet flowers that will give you some spilling action.

As far as care goes, you are gonna want to give this guy full to part sun here along Ocean Beach, and water infrequently but thoroughly after the roots have been established. Rosemary doesn’t mind getting a haircut, so prune away – but we’ve noticed that the upright forms can get a little woody over time and don’t like to put on new growth on bare old wood.

Eat away at the foliage. We find that some rosemary tastes better before it flowers, but a lot of people like eating the flowers, too – so experiment. OK, we’re headed back to our garden. We’re trying to get a lot of new stuff planted before the winter rains end. See ya in two weeks. Matti and Megan – Far Out Flora

We (Matti and Megan) live in San Francisco near Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park. Plants are awesome. We like to do interesting things with them. Succulents, bromeliads, carnivores and other unusual plants are our favorites. Both of us graduated from UW-Madison with art degrees. Matti works for an art gallery and Megan works for a home staging company. We’re originally from the great state of Wisconsin. Before moving to San Francisco we lived in Madison off of Willy Street. Our dog Max is too smart for his own good. He makes us check out beaches all over the coast.

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