NAME: Romarinus officinalis
TYPE: Half-hardy perennial
FAMILY: Labiatae; relatives include salvia, mint, thyme, basil, lamb's ears
VARIETY: Madalene Hill, aka Hill Hardy
VITAL STATS: 16- to 48-inch-tall upright plant; green, leathery
needle-shaped leaves with gray undersides; foliage has rich pinelike aroma;
pale blue-violet flowers; winter hardy to minus-10 degrees F., if mulched.
NATIVE LAND: Mediterranean coastline; this variety was introduced as Hill
Hardy by Thomas DeBaggio of Arlington, Va., but has been re- named Madalene
BLOSSOM TIME: Late winter/early spring
BEST FEATURES: Superb winter-hardiness for Long Island gardens; tolerant of
salt-mist; savory fragrance released by the lightest touch.
LIKES: Excellent air circulation and soil drainage; full sun to part shade;
a south-facing wall with protection from winter winds.
SWORN ENEMIES: Mildew-caused by lack of air movement; root rot -the result
PLANT PARTNERS: Basil African Blue, lavender, gray curly chives and purple
sage; red miniature roses; can be shaped into a lovely potted Christmas tree
TLC: Prune dead portions in early spring. If desired, bring indoors for
winter and grow in sunny spot, but provide good air circulation. Check soil
dampness frequently-water lightly, but often.