Ready for the Frost
When we landscaped the front yard I planted five small rosemary plants despite the fact they aren’t cold hardy. Next to lavender, it’s probably my favorite herb—it’s a little bit of Christmas year round. I knew they wouldn’t last through the winter but I told myself we’d let them grow as big as possible and then simply replant them each year.
Everything we planted did well and I think the eastern exposure must have had something to do with it. The lavender and sage all grew larger than I expected for the first year and the lemon thyme has pretty much taken over its section of the garden. By the end of the season the rosemary had grown so large I couldn’t bear to think about starting over with seedlings next year. I decided to have a go at keeping them alive through the winter.
I started with mulch, something we didn’t do when we first landscaped because we had pulled up a good section of the grass to expand the beds and and I wanted a clear field to remove any lingering roots.
Our city has a fantastic free mulch program—when it comes to a great government service, it’s right up there with the public library. People drop off their yard waste and tree trimmings at one end of the site and the city grinds it into mulch and piles it up at the other end. A couple times a year the city brings out a skid loader and will fill up everyone’s pickup but most of the time, all you need is a garden fork and a lot of bags.
I filled about 10 bags with mulch and bought 50 yards of burlap for the project. I started by giving everything a good soak. Then I spread the mulch, taking care to add a thicker layer around the rosemary bushes. I took about 5 yards of burlap and wrapped it around each bush and tied it up with twine. Then I took another 5 yards and wrapped it around the base of the plants.
It did make for a strange sight once I was done but the rosemary made it through a night of freezing temperatures. The true test now is whether or not they’ll last the winter.
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