It’s that time of year again to bring in my rosemary. I am tempted to leave it out in the garden where it is flourishing and, with global warming, I wonder if this is the year it can finally stay out. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a severe winter yet I find wooly bears prognosticating a mild one. The fact is, I am an amateur and, with experts in our hamlet, I thought it better to find out from them how to nurture one’s tender plants through the cold months.

Kris Haberman is one such person. One evening over drinks he offered the following advice: To begin with, choose a hardy variety like rosemarinus officianalis Arp that can do well as far north as zone 6. Kris considers Palisades to be in zone 6, even northern zone 7. Since it is not so much the cold that kills rosemary as it is the desiccating wind, burlap walls around your bush may get it through. If you bring your rosemary inside take care not to overwater.

Plant scented geraniums in the same pot as your rosemary to soak up extra water. Dig up your geraniums a few weeks before the first frost and cut their stems back to one third before planting them with the rosemary. Keep them in a sunny spot, around 65 degrees. A southern exposure will mitigate white fly infestations. Or, take 6 inch cuttings and place them in water with rooting hormone. Several willow branches in the water with the geranium cuttings will exude natural rooting hormone. When roots appear in about 4 to 6 weeks, plant the cuttings with your rosemary.

If you are not pairing, wait until the first frost to dig up your geraniums, shake off the soil from the roots and hang them upside down in a moist, dark place such as a root cellar. The leaves will turn brown and drop off. If the plants get too dry, plunge them into water to revive them. In the spring, after the last frost, trim them back to 6 inches and plant them out.

When I knocked on Judy Tomkins’ door, she invited me in to a fire and a cup of tea. She said she doesn’t bring in plants because she prefers to use plants indigenous to the area. As for rosemary, she doesn’t have room. Judy does bring in her scented geraniums for wintering in her windows after potting them in the spring. Her oleander luxuriates indoors in a prominent place near her private porch. They flourish with frugal watering and a cool place with good winter light. I asked Judy about camellias since Eddy Ewald of Arbor Hill Landscaping gave some out this season as an experiment. He had assured me that this camellia would make it through our winter. When I told Judy that the camellia’s tag claims hardiness to zone 6, she expressed her doubts. She contends that our area is in zone 5 although, with recent warmer winters, we may have migrated to zone 6. In any case, she definitely recommends bringing in camellias. She noted that Roger Hooker has a large and ancient one thriving in a pot.

I still have my rosemary out. My own ritual is to wait for the temperature to drop to 20 degrees, then put it in our south-facing gallery. I usually forget to water it but I do spray its leaves from time to time. As for the camellia, my bargain with Eddy was to leave it out. We shall see how that goes. More good advice can be found on the White Flower Farm website.