By Barbara Porsch, Master Gardener
About this time of the year when I am totally exhausted from trying to move what seems like a zillion plants inside, to the garage or to some other spot to protect them through the winter, I vow not to buy one more plant that needs special attention.
THEN, I happen on a Christmas decoration display at the grocers or a big box store of Norfolk Island Pines or Rosemary trimmed up into a Christmas tree shape. I am such a sucker.
I know that the Rosemary, once it has gotten over the embarrassment of a bad haircut, can be planted into the yard and used for many years. There are many culinary uses for it. Twigs can be tied together to make a basting brush when you grill. Try stuffing the cavity of a chicken or fish with rosemary and lemon slices for a delicious flavor. I have made a rosemary infused lemonade that seems to be a big hit when I serve it.
I have heard that you can brush your dog with twigs to repel fleas and ticks. Rosemary does not want wet feet so you will want to plant it in a fairly dry location. I have a large plant in my yard that, once initially established, has gotten nothing but rain—whenever that happens.
Unfortunately the Pine has no culinary use but it makes a nice house plant in the winter and can be summered out to accent a patio or flower bed. Sometimes in the store they are decorated with tiny ornaments for the season, but those can be disposed of soon.
So, if you are lucky enough to find these wonderful plants available this time of the year, I’d say to go for it even if you think you are at capacity for plants in your home.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Midland at 686-4700 or Odessa at 498-4071 for more gardening information.