• Rosemary is truly a year-round herb. In winter it flavours succulent roasts, in spring it perfumes salad dressings and in summer rosemary syrup made from the leaves and flowers can be stirred into fruity desserts and cordials. Add the tiny mauve flowers to ice cubes for drinks, use as a garnish or in a jelly. Even simpler, fill jugs with flowering sprigs and enjoy the matchless fragrance as its floats through the house. There’s no end to its manifold uses. Although indigenous to the Mediterranean, it’s grown around the world because it is so simple and rewarding to cultivate, especially for beginner gardeners. All it needs is sun, well-drained soil and not too much water. Once established it doesn’t overgrow everything, and doesn’t mind heat or cold. Being evergreen, it can be clipped into hedges or standards or just allowed to grow into a single specimen plant.
    Old favourites are McConnell’s Blue, which grows slowly into a large bush, and Tuscan Blue, which has long straight stems that can be used as sosatie or kebab sticks, imparting a delicious flavour to meat. Newer varieties are Heinz, also an upright-growing rosemary but more compact than Tuscan Blue and with white flowers, Pink, an upright pink-flowering rosemary, and Irene, which has azure blue flowers and a cascading growth. Visit healthyliving-herbs.co.za for more info and recipes.
    By Alice Spenser-Higgs