In my previous post, I wrote about the Red Poppy which is an international symbol of remembrance for all those who have fought and died in war. Another flower, which symbolises remembrance, is rosemary.
On our Anzac Day, we often combine poppies and rosemary in the wreaths, or floral tributes, we place on our war memorials or on headstones in cemeteries for service personnel. This is my table centrepiece with rosemary from my garden. I plan to add some poppies tomorrow on Anzac Day.
According to Philippa Werry’s beautiful book on Anzac*, rosemary grows wild on the Gallipoli peninsula. She writes that a wounded soldier brought home a rosemary cutting from Gallipoli, and a hedge from that cutting grows to this day in the Waite Arboretum near Adelaide, Australia. Also included in the book is a beautiful poem by New Zealand poet Alistair Te Ariki Campbell called ‘Gallipoli Peninsula’. Some of you may be able to access it on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVzC47BEcyQ. It begins “It was magical when flowers appeared on the upper reaches….. ” This poem has also been set to music. This link will give you a brief sample of the music being sung by the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Choir ( http://sounz.org.nz/works/show/20973 )
Rosemary, or Rosmarinus officinalis, is member of the mint family. Rosemary derives from the Latin for ‘dew’ (ros) and ‘sea’ (marinus) and can be translated as ‘dew of the sea’. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary). I think “dew of the sea” is a perfect description for the gentle blues and greens and sea foamy hues of rosemary.
* Anzac Day, The New Zealand Story by Philippa Werry