I know, I know: we all love Rosemary, it's pretty and it smells nice, but come on, how much of it does anyone actually use as a herb? Just how much lamb can one family eat?
These days, I rarely find Rosemary being used as a herb: it is usually allowed to grow into a fine bush, usually it is allowed to flower, and it only becomes a problem when it is taking up too much room in a herb bed.
This one has been lovely for many years, but now is is spreading right out across the grassy path, ruining the grass and making it hard for the owner to walk past it on wet days, without ending up bedraggled and cross.
So it is time for action.
Here we are - right - half way through the job.
You can really see the extent of the dead brown wood in this photo, which is - in effect - a cross section of the bush. In fact, to be honest with you, I've been treating this shrub (and it's matching sister at the other end of the bed) as topiary, clipping them to neat round shapes every year, in an attempt to keep them down to a reasonable size.
It always amazes and amuses me, to see how what looked like a large but reasonable shrub can turn into a massive pile once you start to chop it.
I suppose this is a tribute to the "leaf mosaic" which plants and trees create: they hold their leaves in such a way that every leaf gets as much sunlight as possible, which means they arrange themselves very efficiently, spatially speaking.
When we cut them down, we ruin all this careful arrangement, so this must be why the offcuts seem to be twice as bulky as the actual shrub was.
With a sudden sense of deja vu - remember Digging Out A Buddleia? - I excavate all around the roots, loosening it to the point where I can wiggle the stump too and fro, which then gives me the leverage to loosen it even more, until eventually it gives up, breaks off, and comes out.
Rosemary, like many shrubs, won't grow back from portions of underground roots, so I don't need to dig a massive hole.
Once the stump was out, all that remained was to fork over the edges of the hole, add a bucketful or two of our home-made compost to replenish the soil, and lo! and behold, ready for replanting. But not with another rosemary!