The botanical name of the plant we commonly refer to as rosemary was recently changed from Rosmarinus officinalis to Salvia rosmarinus. While the official name may be different, rosemary is still a beautiful, and beneficial, plant for your garden.
The word rosmarinus, which is a constant in the name, may have been inspired by its sea blue blossoms. Marinus in Latin means maritime, or from the sea, while ros means dew. This makes rosmarinus dew of the sea.
This makes sense to me as rosemary is a Mediterranean herb that appreciates well drained, sandy soil and warm weather. While I keep one near the house in a pot, rosemary prefers to be in the ground. My soil is heavy with clay so I amend it with a good bit of pearlite to ensure that the roots do not rot.
Rosemary is considered an evergreen and if you live in plant hardiness zones 8 or higher, your plants should overwinter with little to no problem. Unfortunately for my plants, my home is in planting zone 6a. I do keep my in ground plants protected but when we have a hard winter they do not survive.
A quote from Practical Magic, initially a novel then adapted to a popular movie, shares the wisdom that we should plant rosemary by the garden gate. This is valuable advice as it is known to keep ticks and fleas, as well as deer and mice, away. There are two ways to do this effectively. The first is to plant a perimeter, the second is to sprinkle the dried leaves throughout flower beds, and around the perimeter of your house or garden.
Around your home it is advisable to plant rosemary around your porch or hand from your doorpost. An herbal wreath on your front door is a fragrant invitation to friends but will deter a variety pests.
Rosemary is also credited with supporting good sleep and drawing away nightmares. A sprig can be placed under your pillow, or you can use the dried leaves in an herbal dream pillow. My recipe for pleasant dreams combines a tablespoon of rosemary with rose petals, lavender flowers, and hops blossoms. (If you are interested in more about this, please download my 31 page Crafting Herbal Dream Pillows.
Rosemary has medicinal benefits as well. The list is long and includes antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. It can be ingested or applied topically. I use rosemary in my Four Thieves vinegar during cold and flu season. You can find my recipe in this blog post about seasonal support.
This is one of those herbs where too much can be too much. Rosemary has projective energy connected to the fire element. Use sparingly to prevent irritation on skin and in the gastrointestinal tract.
As you can see, rosemary offers protection but can also aid in divination. It can be used in place of frankincense in purification rituals and can stimulate insight when burned on charcoal as incense.
Rosemary stimulates circulation, specifically to the brain. For that reason, rosemary supports memory. Rosemary is often used as a symbol of remembrance.
Rosemary is a medicinal, culinary, and aromatic ally from the plant realm. I would love to hear how you work with rosemary! Drop me a message and let me know.