Clippings from it adorned my daughter-in-law’s bridal bouquet alongside vibrant blue hydrangeas. In January, it will hold its own opposite pink roses on the tables at my best friend’s daughter’s wedding reception.
I could have never imagined when I picked up this small rosemary plant from the produce section of Publix that its once sparse stalks would be so important to our family for so long.
In 2001, when we moved into The Old House, there was an overgrown jasmine vine growing against the garage. Sadly, allergy sensitive children forced it down. We decided to replace the giant growth with a back-door herb garden that seemed like such a Florida luxury.
I probably bought and planted other herbs that day. And I know that many pots of basil, Italian parsley and thyme have come with great anticipation and gone with annual plagues of rain and heat during hurricane season. But the rosemary is indestructible. It withstood workers boots during a massive construction project, the winds from three hurricanes in 2004, and animals sleeping under or—as in the case of our resident black snake—inside of it.
The once tiny plant is now about four feet tall and just as wide. I’ve heard the Old Wives Tale that an untamed rosemary bush precludes an unruly marriage, but I disagree. It makes me happy to brush past it when I walk out to my home office. Even more enjoyable is when our somehow always stinky cocker spaniel chases a lizard into the stems and comes out smelling like he’s had a perfume bath.
I knew rosemary was a terrific addition to pastas, pork, or grilled bread, but I didn’t realize its full potential for flower arrangements until recently. When planning the flowers for my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding, I suggested to our florist that we could use rosemary clippings for filler, mainly because I was swimming in it.
Unbeknownst to me, rosemary is an ancient wedding tradition typically used in wreaths for the brides or wrapped around branches with ribbons and given to guests as a symbol of love and loyalty. Now, I notice it used in every wedding I attend either in the bouquets or draped on the ends of pews.
Although we stumbled across this tradition completely by accident, I can’t help but believe that our little plant that thrived can only bring years of good luck and happiness to the young couples whose weddings it enhances.
But that is the way luck is.