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The many uses of the ANZAC Day Rosemary

There are many plants that not only symbolise the ANZAC spirit, but are living history, brought back by returning veterans from the battle fields. These plants invoke both visual and sensory reminders of the sacrifices those before us have made.

The History of the ANZAC Rosemary

In 1915 a wounded digger brought back with him a small rosemary bush from ANZAC Cove. The bush was planted in the Army Hospital grounds at Keswick. Sprigs of this rosemary bush were worn to remember and honour the fallen on ANZAC day from that point forward.

The heritage of the rosemary bush itself was only discovered in the 1980’s after a landscaper went to remove the bush from the gardens, only to be told its amazing history from the hospital gardener.  In an attempt to preserve the plants history, the landscaper David Lawry, took the rosemary bush back to his native nursery and started propagation. The ‘Gallipoli Rosemary’ sold throughout nurseries today are plants from the original bush brought home 100 years ago.

Planting & Propagation

Rosemary is a hardy wonderfully aromatic herb shrub, and its plant care is relatively easy in Australia.  You can plant it into your herb garden or use as a culinary hedging plant. Rosemary plants can be propagated from cuttings, so you can plant your sprig after ANZAC Day.

When growing rosemary plants, provide them with well-drained, sandy soil and at least six to eight hours of sunlight. These plants thrive in warm, humid environments and cannot take extremely cold temperatures.

In containers rosemary prefers to remain somewhat on the dry side; therefore, terra cotta pots are a good choice when selecting suitable containers. These pots allow the plant to dry out faster. Thoroughly water rosemary plants when the soil is dry to the touch but allow the plants to dry out between watering intervals. 

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Pruning & Cutting

Pruning rosemary will help make a bushier plant. Snip sprigs using the general rule of not taking more than one-third of the plant at any time and make cuts just above a leaf joint.

Rosemary can then be dried like any other herb by hanging tied bundles upside down in a cool, dry place. Fresh rosemary will last for approximately 3 weeks if you wrap it in a slightly damp paper towel and then place the bundle in a sealable plastic bag or container.

Rosemary uses and Benefits

As a medicinal herb, it has long been recommended for strengthening the brain and memory. The herb contains substances that are useful for improving digestion, increasing circulation and often reducing pain.

In cooking, rosemary is used as a seasoning in a variety of dishes, such as soups, casseroles, salads, and stews. Use rosemary with chicken and other poultry, game, lamb, pork, steaks, and fish, especially oily fish. It also goes well with grains, mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes, and spinach.

What else can you make with Rosemary?

  • Rosemary & Garlic Butter
  • Rosemary Infused Olive Oil
  • Rosemary Salt
  • Rosemary Infused Vodka
  • Rosemary sprinkled on Breads and Focaccia
  • Rosemary sprigs as skewers and Kebabs
  • Rosemary Infused Essential Oils
  • Rosemary Salve (for stiffness, swelling)
  • Rosemary Hair Wash (said to improve growth & health)
  • Rosemary in a DIY Natural Deodorant
  • Rosemary DIY Mouthwash
  • Rosemary as Mosquito Repellent (they don’t like the smell)
  • Potpourri (Keeps your home smelling fresh)
  • Rosemary Infused All-Purpose Cleaner (due to its antiseptic properties)
  • Rosemary Holiday Wreath or Home Décor
  • Cocktail Ingredient

What else can you make with Rosemary?

Gardening is listed as 1 of the top 5 things you can do to improve your mental health. And rosemary is an excellent addition to any herb or normal garden. Not only are mosquitoes, flies, and other outdoor party-crashers repelled by this fragrant herb, it is an excellent cooking companion and will help with the pollination of your other plants. So grab that sprig after ANZAC Day and get planting.

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