Every year, on the first day of January, I look to see what is in flower in the garden. This can vary enormously due to the weather in the previous two months. A mild autumn can trigger bulbs into bloom early while cold conditions hold everything back and discourages winter flowering jasminum nudiflorum or iris unguicularis. But apart from 2011, after six weeks of bitter cold and snow, my two rosemary bushes have always been in flower.
The first of these, rosmarinus officinalis ‘Miss Jessop’s Upright’, is planted near the front door where it releases its scent every time someone brushes against it. Coming from the Mediterranean, rosemary likes full sun and a poor, well-drained soil which is precisely the conditions at the front of my south facing house. As its name suggests, this has an upright rather than a sprawling habit, but occasional wayward branches are cut out.
And have you ever looked closely at the flowers?
My second rosemary bush is also growing in the front garden. It just came with a label saying “pink”; I think it’s probably R. o. ‘Roseum.’ The blooms are quite a good pink as well, not a washed out colour.
This bush tries to be a bit more rangy but cutting out any badly placed branches at their base has contained its habit. This may go against the books that say only prune to a shoot, but the bush obviously hasn’t read the books and continues to grow quite happily. And regularly flower on New Year’s Day.