Rosemary is an interesting herb with a long history. It has been used as a seasoning, has symbolic use both at weddings and funerals, and is incense in religious ceremonies and in magical spells. It is used to decorate churches and homes at holidays and is in the top ten herbs used for decorating and for making craft and gift items. Recently is has been used in perfumes.
The ancients used it to help with memory loss. The Virgin Mary was reputed to have hidden under a Rosemary shrub while escaping from Egypt. Another legend states that the white rosemary flower was turned to the color of Mary’s blue cloak when she laid it upon the blooming bush as the family was fleeing from Herod’s soldiers.
Sir Thomas More let Rosemary grow wild in his garden. He claimed it attracted bees to his gardens and is an herb sacred to remembrance and friendship so would always be welcome in his garden.
Rosemary is also used for medicinal purposes. Always use any herb with care.
Rosemary has evergreen shaped leaves that are about one inch long. It is very shrub like in appearance. In warmer climates in grow quite large and in the United States it stays small and must be brought indoors in the fall. The leaves are very strong in smell.
Rosemary grows from seeds, cuttings, and division of roots. They say the best shrubs are those grown from seed. Rosemary will grow the best in a light, dryish soil and in a sheltered are if you have it outdoors. In a chalky soil the shrub will not grow as large but will be more fragrant.
Rosemary at Christmas
My favorite memory of Christmas is the small Rosemary shrub my grandmother always has at the holidays. She would use small vintage old wooden ornaments and decorate the 12 to 15 inch tree, which had been shaped to look like a small Christmas tree.
Rosemary also makes great pomanders, teas, and Victorian Kissing balls. If you tie Rosemary bunches on pinecones and swags you have a fast fragrant decoration.
An Advent wreath is a very popular Christmas decoration. Below are the instructions.
v One wire wreath box-style frame 14 or 15 inches in diameter.
v Oasis that has been soaked in water and cut to fit the frame.
v A mix of greens: boxwood, white pine, yew, juniper, cedar, holly and ivy.
v Cuttings of rosemary, thyme, lavender, sage, costmary, and horehound.
v 12 fresh pink rose buds or use dried pink ones. Also Dried purple statice, globe amaranth, or strawflowers in pinks and shades of lavender and purple.
v Advent candles or any color candles of your choice. You will need five. Each candle represents one of the following sentiments: Hope, peace, joy, love, and the light of Christ candle lit on Christmas night. The last candle can be a pillar candle placed in the center of the ring.
v 4 or 5 candle sockets.
v Ribbon in deep purple and pink if you are following the traditional color of advent candles.
Assemble the greens on the wreath and tie or glue into place. Scatter the herbs and dried flowers attractively onto the wreath and again wire or glue into place. Place the candle sockets onto the wreath. Wire into place securely.
The final touch is applying the ribbon. Enjoy!