With the sun shining this afternoon, I sat out in my wicker chair reading a book I hadn’t picked up for ages. At least twenty years have passed since I last opened The Potted Herb, by Abbie Zabar. A softcover version of the book is available here.
I remember when I bought this book. It was to be the first of many wonderful gardening book purchases. What fun I had pouring over it and imagining all the different uses I could make of the many herbs I planned to grow and did eventually grow.
Visions of creating a seventeenth-century stillroom ran through my head. There I envisioned creating herbal-scented inks, herbal brow wraps and incense and fragrant rubbing lotions. While I never managed to have a stillroom or make any of these treats, I did learn much about growing and using herbs. I gathered many bunches of herbs that I dried and gave away as presents. I also learned how to make a Rosemary topiary and had a thriving one for many years.
It wasn’t until I opened the book today that I remembered writing snippets of the book onto lovely Japanese writing paper.
Many of these snippets accompanied herbal bunches to friends, but I must have kept this one about Rosemary.
It was fun to read it again and remember my fascination with herbs, especially Rosemary and Lavender. On this sheet, (pictured above), I wrote the following about Rosemary using various coloured pencils:
Rosemary has always been of more significance than any other herb and more important than most of them put together. The name of the herb derives from the Latin words ‘ros’ and ‘maris’ meaning ‘dew’ or ‘spray from the sea.’
Keeping rosemary potbound not only adds to the strength of its fragrance, but is said to encourage flowering as well. Rosemary needs good drainage doing best in sandy soils, and will tolerate no less than two hours of daily sunshine during winter’s shortest days.
Rosemary was a herb that followed you from cradle to grave. A sprig was used to stir cups at christenings, while during the courting season its wood was made into lutes for lover’s madrigals. It is linked with remembrance and affection. This herb has always been a symbol of friendship.
As I returned indoors, I was surprised to see that the same Anemone flower I wrote about two weeks’ ago is still in bloom. I find it amazing considering that it has lived through several nights of hard frosts and is still looking lovely. I take heart from these little gifts that my garden still bestows on me.