My mother has a rosemary plant in the garden every year. It’s usually newly-purchased every year, too, because rosemary is a Mediterranean plant that doesn’t winter well in Canada – even if you bring it indoors and baby it, it tends not to survive. Every year the spiky green herb is planted, and it grows bigger, and that’s about it – it doesn’t usually do anything else.
This year, my mother took her potted rosemary plant up to the cottage and put it out on the end of the dock, where it got lots of air and morning sunlight. Apparently, it really liked that, because for the first time in all the years my mother has been planting rosemary, the rosemary has bloomed. The blossoms are tiny, purple-blue, and look a bit like orchids. According to legend, the flowers were originally white, but when the Holy Family stopped to rest during the Flight to Egypt the Virgin Mary wanted somewhere to hang her blue cloak to dry, and the little aromatic plant volunteered; when she picked her cloak up again, the blossoms were stained blue. They have been blue ever since, and ever since the plant has been called the Rose of Mary – rosemary – in her honour.