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  • Need some gardening advice

    I used to have a big rosemary bush in the garden, but it died last year. I expect it drowned. So... bought little rosemary and sage plants from the market, and just potted them together in a tub with compost and plenty of gravel. No more planting Mediterranean herbs in Oxfordshire clay.

    For now they can sit on the south side of the house and even catch a bit of sun there - but pretty soon there will be frosts. What should I do then? Bring the whole thing indoors? Bury the tub? Or would they be OK if I just left them?

  • #2
    We've got Rosemary that we brought from the south of France many moons ago. It will acclimatise. When ours gets old and woody, we just take cuttings and start new plants. I say plant it in the garden if you have space. If you leave plants in pots, you might try covering them with bubble wrap should you have a frost warning.

    If you really have got clay soil you can dig in some sand and compost to loosen it up for plants that need drainage.
    Why use a sledge hammer to crack a nut when a steam roller is even more effective, and, is fun to drive.

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    • #3
      Bubble wrap - got it. Or at any rate, not leaving them to their own devices.

      Soil in Oxfordshire is a bit different from Spalding... *sigh*… this is the kind of clay that gives you a serious workout. I've broken the handles off a few garden forks trying to dig it. The poor old rosemary bush did get lots of gravel dug in when I planted it - but that was many years ago, and the 'summer' of 2012 was apparently the limit.

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      • #4
        Don't wrap it completely in bubblewrap. Wrap the pot so the roots are protected and just put some on top to keep out the rain. Frost is not a problem, cold and wet is.

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        • #5
          Mine died here, well covered and mulched for the winter. But my mom's thrive in BC throughout the winter and in a relatively clay-ish soil with lots of rain and a touch of sub-zero in the winter (she's zone 7 or 8). I was going to plant another in a pot and take indoors for winter.
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          • #6
            Thanks for the suggestions!

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            • #7
              Rosemary and sage both doing well here on heavy clay (Perthshire). Just keep them clipped so they don't get too woody. Remember that sage in particular often only lasts a few years anyway.

              Have you tried purple sage? I think it's nicer than green.

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              • #8
                We live in the mountains and have snow (Tahoe) so it's probably not like your experience. But i have a very large herb garden and have dealt with this for years, bec i love rosemary. It simply can't survive our winters. So--i buy a new bush every year, pot it (rather than in the ground) and at the end of the autumn, right before the first snows in October, I simply cut off all the branches and freeze them in plastic bags, as is. I have fresh rosemary all year round for cooking that way. Simply take the branches out of the freezer and the "leaves" will fall off. That's easier than trying to separate the leaves from the branches when the branches are fresh.

                Sage is wonderful--it grows huge, dies back in winter, and comes back every year. I had trouble with sage until i went to visit my cousin in Portland, Oregon, where it rains like crazy, and her sage was taking over. That's when i realized that sage needs a lot more water than a lot of other herbs (like rosemary). So putting those two in the same pot might not work. Sage is also a great go-to plant for cooking--take a handful of sage leaves, don't cut them up, put them in a frying pan with a ton of butter (like a pound), cook down the butter with the sage and brown the butter with the sage in it. Refrigerate this and use it on EVERYTHING... great on potatoes, great on veggies. The leaves will get brown and crunchy, deepfried in butter, obv! They are terrific.

                (I hate pasta, but when i was pre-primal, putting this sage butter on pasta was wonderful... it disguised the taste and texture of nasty pasta!)

                Good luck!

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                • #9
                  Huh - no good in the same pot after all? Oh well... I can always move one. Need to get more compost - good exercise.

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                  • #10
                    Do you have access to burlap? I've had great success wintering potted trees, herbs and fruits by wrapping their pots in used coffee bean burlap bags. If you're near even a modest-sized coffee roaster house, they many times give them away as trash.

                    Then I just place the pots under a deck or overhang that still gets rain dripping thru but doesn't leave the plants in the full blast of weather. That way the plants still can 'drink' from the winter rains/snow but the burlap will allow evaporation and not turn into muddy mess. Then come spring I just toss the burlap in compost, it will be 1/3 decomposed by then.

                    Originally posted by drjoyous View Post
                    Simply take the branches out of the freezer and the "leaves" will fall off. That's easier than trying to separate the leaves from the branches when the branches are fresh.
                    love that trick of freezing the Rosemary DrJoyous -- going to have to try that. And I still enjoy the butter & sage on yams and squash. Can't give up the Sage...yum

                    “you aren't what you eat - you are what you don't poop.” Wavy Gravy

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