Real Men Sow

What’s the Future for Rosemary and Thyme?

I’m not sure what’s going to become of these little rosemary and thyme plants over the winter, but for now they’re an accomplishment that I’m going to celebrate.

I’ve not had much luck with herbs in the past. Everything I’ve tried has always died, leaving me to pick up plants from the local farmers market and nursery. However, this summer has seen a partial success.

Winging It
I had a thriving rosemary plant that took exception to last winter’s snow, so during spring I made some impromptu cuttings from a long-standing rosemary at the father-in-laws, and set about winging a freebie replacement.

I’d never taken a cutting before, so I didn’t really know what I was doing. I cut half a dozen stems, about 10cm long, and poked them into a 6 inch pot of multi-purpose and homemade compost mix.

For the first few weeks, the cuttings cosy home was my coldframe, and this period was notable by virtue of nothing actually happening. They didn’t grow, just stayed upright and green. Refreshingly, I guessed this meant they weren’t dieing.

Having kept them watered and crossed my fingers, the little cuttings gradually began to grow. In August, I plucked up the courage to empty out the pot, and to unashamed fist clenching I was greeted with a decent pattern of root establishment.

Planting Out the Rosemary
With hindsight, maybe I should have then planted the cuttings into a bigger pot so that I could move the rosemary inside when the weather is very cold, but instead I put them in a newly prepared herb garden (once I’d cleared the cat’s turd – what is it with cats and freshly dug soil??).

Since then, I’m delighted to report that the plant has taken, and I’ve made a few harvests of this pungent, tasty herb. It’s funny; sometimes the smallest of successes are the most gratifying.

I’ve also had some luck with thyme, which has never happened before. I made a couple of sowings in pots and again left them in the coldframe. They geminated, which is one up on any previous efforts, but like the rosemary, growth was slow.

Anyhow, on rosemary transplanting day, I kind of took a flyer at with the thyme too, and bunged the inch high seedlings all together in the herb bed with a sprinkling of compost. As you can see from the photo, they’ve taken as well.

The Little Things…
Another thing that brings a smile to my face is that both these plants were off the cuff sowings, as a result of an afternoon’s spring time pottering. I hadn’t planned to grow these, and they were borne out of a lovely sunny afternoon messing about in the garden.

What the future holds for my little plants I don’t know. I’m contemplating making a couple of cloches out of big plastic bottles to offer up some winter protection. Whether they’re big and ugly enough to survive the cold remains to be seen, but on this dull September day, they make me a very happy gardener.

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  1. Susanc2September 12, 2011 at 11:38 pmReply

    Go RMS. Love your spirit of adventure and experimentation. This seems to be my year of killing thyme everywhere (sunbaked in pots on the back porch, strangled by mint in the front planter). Wish me luck overwintering a rosemary inside this year!

    • Jono

      JonoSeptember 13, 2011 at 6:33 amReplyAuthor

      Thanks Susan.

      Its odd, over here we’re told that herbs are easy, they’re indestructable. They might be, if I could get the things to grow in the first place!

      Have also made the mistake of not potting mint. It is now everywhere in my garden.

      Good luck with the rosemary.

  2. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » My Heroic HerbsApril 28, 2012 at 11:38 amReply

    [...] in September, I blogged about my little rosemary and thyme plants, and wondered as to whether these young guns would make it through an English [...]

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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