Gardening principles | Home & Garden

Pray for rain!

Rosemary is a Mediterranean native that grows as a shrub in Southern California, Texas, and other areas with dry summers and mild winters. In other regions, winter hardiness without protection is questionable as cold, dry winds quickly dry out the leaves. To be on the safe side, grow some of your rosemary in pots and move it to a cool room in cold weather. In any climate, the strong, resinous scent and delicious taste of rosemary go perfectly with grilled fish, meat and vegetables in the Mediterranean style.

Light, well-drained soil is essential for rosemary, especially for containerized plants. Water only as often as necessary to keep the soil slightly moist.

Plants need full sun in summer, and in winter it is best to keep them indoors near a sunny south or west window.

Rosemary is great for simple topiary shapes. To make a tree-shaped standard, choose a plant with a straight center stem. Cut the lowest branches off one at a time and shorten the branches near the top so they don’t get too heavy. When the plant is the desired height, cut the head into a bushy ball.

To save rosemary for cooking, remove the leaves from the twigs and freeze in a freezer bag. Or dry and store in airtight jars.

If you throw sprigs of rosemary on the coals or the grill of the grill during the last 10 minutes of cooking, they will add a wonderful taste and aroma to lamb, veal or chicken. Rosemary sprigs can be used as skewers for kebabs or tied together into an aromatic brush to coat the meat with sauce as it cooks.

Sage is a hardy but often short-lived perennial. Garden sage is woody, with soft gray-green foliage. The most famous of the culinary sages is mainly used as a sausage and filling ingredient, but it also gives great flavor to bread, cheese, poultry and vegetable dishes.

Some varieties of sage are brightly colored, which makes them ideal for large containers to be planted with an assortment of them. ‘Aurea’ has golden and green leaves, ‘Purpurea’ has purple foliage and ‘Icterina’ has yellowish green spotted foliage. They all grow to be 2 ½ feet tall.

Catalogs often describe sage as short-lived perennials or semi-hard annuals. In fact, some annuals of sage can survive mild winters, while extreme cold or hot, humid conditions can kill some perennials. Whenever you try a new sage, mulch over its roots in late fall and then see if it survives until spring.

Garden sage loves sun and well-drained soil. Water young plants regularly until they are established. After a few weeks they can tolerate drier conditions.

Pinch individual sheets of paper as needed in the kitchen. Not only can you cut them into dishes, but you can also place whole leaves of sage over roasted meat or lies. To use sage in salads, lightly fry whole leaves in a little olive oil, drain on kitchen paper and crumble the crispy leaves over the finished salad.

Sage tea is good medicine and has a history as an antiseptic mouthwash and digestive aid. To dry sage for wreaths or potpourri, cut off flower stalks about 8 inches long, secure a bundle with an elastic band, and hang it upside down in a cool place to dry.

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