“Anzac Day is one of Australia’s most important national commemorative occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.”

On the 25th April everywhere across Australia we stop to remember those who gave their lives serving and protecting our wonderful country. Some will attend morning services, some will march, some will just sit quietly, many will shed a tear and we will all remember. As a symbol of respect, gratitude and in remembrance many will pin a sprig of rosemary to their lapels, near their breast or hold it in place by their medals.

Why is rosemary worn on ANZAC day in Australia?

Through ancient history to modern times; across cultures and countries, folklore and science rosemary has been a symbol of love, trust, friendship and loyalty. What’s more it has always been believed that rosemary has properties that improve and boost memory. Greek scholars wore rosemary garlands to help them remember and now, according to Robert Tisserand (consultant on the science and benefits of essential oils) modern research is illuminating its potential to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease due to properties which can potentially inhibit the breakdown of acetylcholine;  a compound that plays a role in sections of the brain responsible for memory and reasoning.   http://roberttisserand.com/2012/03/rosemary-boosts-brain-power/

Of most significance rosemary directly links us Australians to Gallipoli where rosemary grew wild across the peninsula. In 1915 a wounded digger returned to SA with a small rosemary bush he had dug up from ANZAC Cove and it was planted in the grounds at Keswick Army hospital. Over the years cuttings were taken and more shrubs were planted.  For decades small sprigs from this original plant were worn to honour the fallen on both ANZAC and Armistice Day.

In the 1980’s Landscaper and Director of Avenues of Honour, David Lawry took and grew cuttings to ensure conservation of this historic plant. He later provided cuttings to the nursery industry, official Gallipoli Rosemary labels were designed and the plant is now available for purchase through retail garden centres across Australia. A royalty of 50 cents per plant is paid to the Avenue of Honour project. To read more head to   http://www.avenuesofhonour.org/leafy-legends/gallipoli-rosemary/ . To continue to support and help preserve this project ask for Gallipoli Rosemary by name and look out for the unique label.

Rosemary is not just great for adding to a lamb roast- in the garden it is a tough, low water using, low maintenance shrub with loads of pretty flowers and is perfect for hedges, pots and to bring bees to the veggie patch.  For so many reasons it deserves a space in your garden- no matter how big or small.

On April 25th – remember to wear a sprig of rosemary in honour of those who served and fell for our country.

Lest we forget.