Rosemary for Remembrance

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.Remembrance

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

© silkannthreades

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39 thoughts on “Rosemary for Remembrance

  1. gpcox

    I’ve had 2 of my Australian readers recommend Paul Ham’s book “Kokoda” for ANZAC story after I told them what a wonderful article was in the April-May issue of “Archaeology”. Have you read that book?

    Reply
  2. lensandpensbysally

    I have the Arp variety that survives our winter. A few weeks ago the delicate flowers appeared, and are a hint of what’s to come. Doesn’t it smell heavenly? Thanks for reminding me to go and bring some inside and not just for cooking.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Really heavenly, I agree. The Arp variety is probably the one that is grown by the City Council in the small garden areas that border our city streets. It is very hardy.

      Reply
  3. Sheryl

    What a lovely tradition! Thanks for all of the wonderful contextual information. Until I read this post, I’d never heard of Anzac Day.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Anzac Day is very special to us and the Australians. Supposedly our shared experiences at Gallipoli marked the beginnings of our coming of age as New Zealanders and Australians rather than mere members of the British Empire.

      Reply
  4. Annie's Place

    I learned lots of new things about rosemary reading your post and all the comments. On our Memorial Day holiday, flags and green wreaths are commonly placed in the cemetery.

    Reply
  5. Mrs. P

    I love all the connections that important dates have with plants. That doesn’t seem to be the custom in the US, or at least I am not familiar with it. We usually have objects or things (flags, yellow ribbons, etc.)…not plants.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Each of your states has a state flower, I think? And maybe a state bird too. We use the daffodil for Cancer Appeal Day and for Alzheimers, the flower is the Forget me Not. They could be universal symbols. I am not sure. But, in general, it is lovely to have flowers associated with important times.

      Reply
      1. Mrs. P

        Yes, you’re right about the state flowers. My comment was geared more to celebrations and recognitions such as Labor Day, Memorial day. Oh, yes…we do have Arbor Day and May Day where the custom is to leave a smaller gathering of flowers on the doorsteps of people you know. One year I my students makes small bouquets and we took them to the retirement housing next to the school. The kids would place the flowers on the doorstep, ring the bell and then go hide out of site. Great fun and a chance to be thoughtful!.

        Reply
  6. mmmarzipan

    What a lovely post! We are big rosemary fans here too! I am currently using an organic, paraben-free rosemary shampoo… and I can wait to start experimenting more with rosemary when we get our terrace herb garden up and running again now the snow has melted 🙂
    I love the pics too, btw 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you. I haven’t got as far as rosemary shampoo but I am experimenting with rosemary infused water, plus lavender oil ; I spray this on my brush before I brush my hair. I don’t know if it does anything useful but it sure smells good.

      Reply
  7. Tracy Rhynas

    I didn’t realise that rosemary is associated with remembrance….or that it is a member of the mint family…..or that it translates into “dew of the sea”…. Every day we learn!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The mint connection and the meaning of rosemary were new to me too. Those were my little learnings from Wiki today. From a herbal perspective rosemary is supposed to enhance your memory but, as we saw yesterday when I forgot about your post on druzy, it has not worked well on my memory cells 🙂 A few years ago, at a friend’s funeral we were all given rosemary to hold during the service and later to place on her willow casket. It was absolutely beautiful to have the comfort of the rosemary scent which was enhanced by the warmth of our hands.

      Reply
  8. Clanmother

    I did not know about rosemary for remembrance. Lovely photos!!

    Ophelia in Hamlet said, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.”
    I thought that we should have Shakespeare today, given that it was his birthday and the anniversary of his death!!!! April 23, 1564 – April 23, 1616.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How clever of Shakespeare to make his entrance and exit on the same day 🙂 Thank you for the quote from Hamlet. Your quotes are always a delight.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Rosemary is one of my favourite herbs, too. Lately I have been making a rosemary infusion; not to drink, but to allow the rosemary scents to infuse their way into the kitchen and dining room. I am happy you enjoy my flower arrangements. I am lucky to have flowers to arrange. Imagine trying to make your snow look attractive in a vase 🙂

      Reply

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