Many plants used during the holidays have legends dating back thousands of years. Those traditions have carried forward into modern times in myriad forms, with each generation adding layers to the story. I only recently learned that rosemary has a legend, as well.
The story is that this fragrant perennial wasn’t always as beautiful as it is today. During the flight out of Egypt the Holy family stopped to rest, and Mary’s cape was placed over the branches of a white-flowering shrub. The blue flowers we see on rosemary today are believed to be the result of Mary’s honored visit, and the fragrance honors the newborn Jesus.
We use some rosemary in the park year-round in the flower bed in front of the Globe Theatre. It is a woody perennial that likes full sun and good drainage, and also performs well in areas with good air circulation. It has a cold-hardiness around 30 degrees, so it may need to be protected or even potted and brought indoors during winter months in our area.
Should you need to bring your rosemary indoors, be careful not to overwater. Its main problem, when potted, results from too much water and poor ventilation.