Author photo

By Jon Hammond
contributing writer 

Rosemary is storied herb that you and your garden will love

Tehachapi Gardener's Choice


March 2, 2024

Rosemary is an attractive, hardy little shrub that many people associate with the Simon and Garfunkel hit song Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. This plant thrives in the Tehachapi Mountains and is a great choice to have somewhere in your garden for a number of reasons: it is evergreen, cold hardy, drought-tolerant and useful as a fragrant herb.

Jon Hammond.

Rosemary has attractive blue blossoms.

The name "Rosemary" itself is rich with different significant meanings. The word originally comes from "ros" which is the Latin word for "dew," and "marinus" which means the "sea." According to legend, Rosemary was draped around the goddess Aphrodite when she emerged from the ocean, and the Latin name means "Dew of the Sea."

There is also the story that the Virgin Mary took off her blue cloak and laid it over a white-flowered Rosemary bush while fleeing Herod's soldiers with the Christ child, and that turned the blossoms blue, so the plant became the "Rose of Mary." It was also said that Rosemary would not grow taller than 6 feet in 33 years so that it wouldn't exceed the height of Jesus.

Rosemary is native to a Mediterranean climate, which means it is accustomed to the hot, dry summers and winter moisture that we experience in Tehachapi. Being able to withstand both heat and aridity as well as cold temperatures, while still staying green year-round and producing attractive little blue flowers, makes Rosemary a garden champion.

It can also withstand pruning, so you can shape it to the space you have available. It is a favorite in rock and cottage gardens, and can also be container grown, though you'll need a fairly good-sized container with excellent drainage to prevent root rot.

Rosemary has a variety of culinary uses that you can try from your own cuttings, and Rosemary oils have found their way into many different lotions, shampoos, perfumes, creams, etc. You can harvest from the plant all year, and while blooming it is a favorite of honeybees and other nectar feeders, including butterflies.

Rosemary is a great choice for Tehachapi gardens, and in addition to the upright type, there are also prostrate or trailing varieties including "Huntington Carpet" and "Santa Barbara Rosemary."


Botanical name: Rosemarinus officinalis

Evergreen Perennial Shrub

Starting: Containers.

Size: One to five feet tall.

Exposure: Full sun, partial shade.

Watering: Deep watering.

Jon Hammond.

Fresh Rosemary sprigs can be used for adding flavor to many recipes.


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