Culinary: Wintering Rosemary

Discussion in 'Herbs for the Kitchen' started by Dana09, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Location:
    Vancouver Island BC
    Hi,
    Having read a bit of this area I see some interest in rosemary but the posts are old.
    Last winter was the worst we've had in many years here with repeated long cold spells, short warm ups and them further blasts of winter.
    Still, some rosemary survived in my yard in a protected spot.
    In another area where a plant had grown for 20 yrs, it mostly died back tho I see a sprig has returned there, where it is facing south and seemingly protected from high winds, except that there was a wind softening tree lost on the SE side, a main weather direction here tho the coldest winter storms blow in NW.
    I have been told that the rosemary is grown in hedge form in the south of France and it is considered an air purifier. They obviously do not get the winters we do here.
    My other surviving rosemary is also facing south, backed by a fence and flanked by another fence and protected by tall trees behind the fence on the north and NW.

    Other tender plants also suffered if they were in line of those prevailing winds last winter with a Myrtle about 8' tall, about to bloom profusely this year dying, a Rhodo next to it, the Armandii temporarily gone too, next to the rosemary that almost didn't make it back. Passiflora and Armandii are vining once more. I don't mind getting a good refreshing like that once in many years - it is alot of clean-up tho.
    Mother Nature sure is a hard pruner sometimes!

    So to those of you rosemary growers who had posted earlier in the year, one in Nanaimo, and one north of that in Qualicum, I am between the two of you in Parksville and that's how things were here last winter. My rosemary had been also a 4' tall shrub that people often thought was some sort of evergreen, not rosemary, till it would bloom starting in Dec with its blue flowers. It does die out over a long time I have found over the years.
    Sorry but I do not know which variety it is.
    It roots so easily that it can be started in a jar of water.
    But I don't think we can expect to grow hedges of it any time soon, unless we lose the severity in our winters, they just seem unable to take the exposure to it and need to be snugged in somewhere in a cosy corner. At the least, give some root protection for winter so something may return if top growth is lost.

    D
     
  2. Denise

    Denise Active Member

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    Location:
    Langley B.C. Canada
    After doing a quick search, I might have missed the older posts but I am wondering if anyone simply leaves their rosemary in the ground over winter and hopes for the best. My friend who lives in Summerland must remove hers and bring it in, (much colder than on the coast) but I'm wondering if I can leave it out and have it survive. Last year I had it in a large pot and simply put it inside an out building that doesn't get cold enough to freeze, but now it is planted around my pond. Do you think I can leave it? Should I place straw around the base? I was even thinking of wrapping it in bubble-wrap to try to protect it and give it a bit of insulation. Any thoughts from anyone who has a mature plant would be appreciated. (mine is formed into a topiary style bush on a trunk)
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    I grow mine in the paddock edge where it is dry and hot. We also have a couple closer to the house in pots. They like a Mediterranian (sp) climate so if you have severe winter I suspect it needs shelter or inside in a well lighted place. If it grows in the right conditions it has a very strong oil content. Many do grow them as hedges just like lavender.

    Liz
     
  4. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Location:
    Bellingham, WA, usa
    Different cultivars of Rosemary are more tender or more hardy...last year my Hill Hardy in the ground was damaged slightly, but came back strongly. Arp is another one that seemed to do okay. I lost a big Tuscan Blue, which I knew was not as hardy. Most years, Rosemary does fine left in the ground. In a pot, it will be less hardy and should be brought in. I do get the harsh NE outflow winds, and did go below 10F last winter.
     
  5. Charles Richard

    Charles Richard Active Member

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    Location:
    Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
    We keep our Rosemary in the ground over the winter, but as Silvercreek has mentioned, there are different forms.
    We wrap ours with a couple layers of remay cloth. We put stakes around it (it is about 18" tall) so that the remay cloth does not touch it, covering the top aswell.
    We usually put a wrap a layer of plastic around it, but leaving the top open, so that air can still circulate. This has worked for us for many years now.
    Our friend lives on the waterfront in Nanoose Bay (Vancouver Island), usually a bit milder than our area. She has five low growing species and she does not do anything.
    We cover ours as a precaution.
     
  6. Denise

    Denise Active Member

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    Location:
    Langley B.C. Canada
    I have no idea which species this is, but will try to protect it somehow. thanks
    dt
     
  7. mctc

    mctc Member

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    Location:
    pittsburgh usa!
    i bring my rosemary in for the winter where it dies. don't have this figured out.
     
  8. April S

    April S Member

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    Location:
    Gabriola Island BC
    I'm on Gabriola Island and last year lost a prostrate rosemary while a bush one, "Linda Northcott", suffered minimal damage without any protection. Now that I think of it, I believe it was bred for hardiness. That was an awful winter! Linda is one tough lady!

    April
     
  9. Keke

    Keke Active Member

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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    The trailing varieties are less hardy than the uprights, at least here in my yard in the Lower Mainland. I've lost at least three trailing plants over the ten years we've been at this house, but only lost the uprights in the brutal winter of '08-'09. And of course I like the prostrate ones better, which is why I keep trying. So this year I put one trailing rosemary in the (unheated) greenhouse and have burlapped the other -- created a windbreak of burlap on the north and west sides of the raised bed it's in. We'll see how it goes!
    keke
     
  10. Denise

    Denise Active Member

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    Location:
    Langley B.C. Canada
    Thanks everyone for their advice. Our temperatures tonight are expected to get in the -5 to -7 range, so today I wrapped the trunk and bush at the top with light grey landscape fabric then put a wire donut around it and then stuff any remaining spaces with straw. This maybe overkill (no pun intended) and may in fact preclude easy circulation of air and light. I may have to change my tactics.
     
  11. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Last winter I covered my Xeriscape Mediterranean garden with a huge green tarp from the deep freeze in December right until February.....

    The rosemary, though flattened survived the minus 17 c. temps. and today is 5 feet tall and very healthy indeed....
    In another spot in the SW exposed garden, I believe that it was the fierce arctic outflow winds that killed my topiary Rosemary bush, as I only protected it with landscape fabric....
     

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