The Rosemary Hedge

Brooke here.

I’m going to do this post out of order, as I need to find some older photos. This is the post about the second attempt at building a rosemary hedge.

Here’s what it looks like today:


It took a while to get to this point. There’s a rock wall behind the hedge, which was built at the same time as this one. I’ll find the photos of that build someday, as it was an event. It’s a heavy-duty wall which replaces one built by the previous owners. The bottom two layers are made from 1’x2′ slabs of concrete that were left over from the pool deck renovation, and the decorative top layers are made from the same stones as the other wall.


The idea was to hide the fugly concrete slabs beneath evergreen rosemary. I chose salem rosemary for the hedge, which is supposed to be local to the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina. There’s a mockup Days-o’-Yore mini-village in Winston-Salem, and this particular rosemary originates from its garden…or so the story goes. I have no idea whether it’s true, or a fake factoid used to sell plants out of their gardens. I got them because they were cheap at the farmers’ market and they won’t grow over 24″, which makes them perfect for a low-level hedge.

Except they didn’t want to grow.


I knew that rosemary could grow in this area, as there was a mature shrub there when we moved in. That was Before Dogs, who quickly murdered it. These new rosemary springs were in a heavy dog traffic zone and got trampled on the daily. Plus, the soil was mostly clay, which rosemary doesn’t like at all.

So I dug them up, and went to build them their own rosemary bed.

First came more rocks. I went back to the local stone store and asked if they had anything they wanted to unload. Yes, yes they did.


Then, I built a smaller secondary rock wall. As this wall didn’t need to function as a retaining wall, I got to experiment with cute, but basically useless, flat stones.


Once the lower wall was built, I mixed up the nastiest dirt I could in the wheelbarrow, a blend of topsoil, clay, sand, and brick chips. Perfect for rosemary, which loves good drainage and benign neglect.


I lined the bed with garden fabric to hold the filth mixture in place, and replanted the rosemary. Then I added some mulch, and waited two years to take this photo. Easy as…well. Not easy at all, really, but it looks nice!


As this wall wasn’t built for strength like the others, I’ve been having some problems with it. Every winter, the freeze/thaw cycle knocks those flat stones off their bases. It’s not too much effort to seat them back in place, but that’s yet another chore and I’m getting annoyed with those. I might break this wall down and rebuild it someday. Not this summer, though.

6 thoughts on “The Rosemary Hedge

  1. (I might regret this, .. oh who am I kidding)

    So, your sage advice is to take Rosemary, add 2 years of thyme and presto parsley you have a garden?

  2. You thought about using creeping thyme at/over the edge of the wall to use as living and tasty mortar? Takes a year or two to really get into it, but afterwards it’ll probably not move until you take a hoe to the whole structure.

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