Rosemary for Remembrance
Rosemary has long been associated with memory and remembrance, from ancient times through to present. Rosemary is a particularly special ANZAC Day symbol. It grows freely on the Gallipoli Peninsula and also thrives in most parts of Australia and New Zealand. ANZAC Day is commemorated on the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, 25 April 1915.
Story has it that rosemary carried home from Gallipoli by a wounded ANZAC soldier was planted at the hospital where he was cared for, and used as the source for cuttings that parented memorial plantings of rosemary through the home countries.
Both rosemary and the Flanders poppy are key symbols of remembrance. The latter is used on the anniversary of Armistice Day (11 November) in many other nations. Here in NZ, poppies are out of season on ANZAC Day, but it’s a great time of year for planting them. If weather cooperates, poppies planted for ANZAC Day will come into bloom around Armistice Day. A very special remembrance project indeed. See the end of this post for more poppy and rosemary ideas. Lest we forget.
Making Rosemary Wreaths
Supplies and Materials
To make a fresh rosemary wreath, you will need (of course) rosemary cuttings/sprigs and a few basic supplies: wire, cutters, and a wreath base. You can make the base or buy a ready-made wreath-form or ring (see our post on DIY floral crowns and flower wreaths for base ideas). For my rosemary wreath, I made a cardboard base and wrapped it in hemp cord. It’s a little prettier and more finished than plain cardboard.
The same methods can be used for any gathered greenery wreath. You can use the wreath fresh as a decorative wreath, table decoration, around the base of a candle (careful not to get too close to the flame), or even hang the wreath and dry your herbs this way. If hanging, make sure your springs are well secured.
Making a Rosemary Wreath
Rosemary can be a bit messy, so you may want to work on a surface that can be easily cleaned after you are finished. Compost any loose ends and extra sprigs. You can also eat them if using a culinary rosemary, or experiment with growing the cuttings, if you wish. See additional ideas below.
- Gather your rosemary, and ensure it is clean and dry.
- Trim into sprigs (scale to suit your wreath).
- Bundle into small bunches and wrap the ends with wire to secure. If you are making a large wreath, it may be easier to bundle your rosemary sprigs with elastic bands or floral tape instead of wire.
- Attach the bundled sprigs to your base using wire, twisting to secure around the frame as you go.
- Optional: After securing, I prefer bending the ends back to the front, then tucking under before trimming. That way, the back of the wreath is tidy and doesn’t have any scratchy wire ends.
- Repeat, overlapping your sprigs slightly each time, until the wreath is fully covered. Take extra care in positioning the final few sprigs so that it is a neatly covered circlet.
- Trim any errant stems if/as needed.
Making a Rosemary Mini Wreath
To make a mini wreath, the process is the same as above, except that you are working with single stem sprigs instead of bunches. For mini wreaths, you can skip the base and simply wire the bundles together, using the wire to hold the circlet shape.
Additional Rosemary DIY Ideas
Want to have some more creative fun? If you have extra rosemary, here are some more creative DIY projects using rosemary:
- Naturally Scented Lavender Rosemary Candles (Live Simply)
- Rosemary Lemon Bath Salts (A Pumpkin and a Princess)
- Aromatic Herb and Spice Fire Starters (Garden Betty)
- Rosemary Oil (Pop Sugar)
- Rosemary ANZAC Biscuits (Australian Kitchen)
- Herbal Honey (Not Quite Nigella)
- Rosemary Salt (Flour on my Face)
- Rosemary Herb Focaccia (Sally’s Baking Addiction)
Tip: You can use any type of fresh rosemary for making the wreaths, but not necessarily for other crafts or cooking projects where essential oils and/or taste are important. Common rosemary varieties are edible, but not all have the same culinary properties, oils, or flavouring power.