I have just finished a small commission for some friends.. not really bee people as such but there is a honey and cooking connection… so a combination of honey bee and rosemary seemed just perfect.
Rosemary is one of my very favourite herbs. I tried to propagate a piece from Dads garden but it has not taken so in the end I had to buy one…
But I intend to have another go and will try this advice from Thomas Hill, writing in 1577
“Before you set your Rosemary Slips in April or March, wrap the bottom end or slip with Clay about the bignesse of a walnut, and put it in the ground and it will grow better. And about Midsummer following take it up again being well rooted …then make close to your wall a trench…In this trench set your Rosemary roots ; then fill the trench with water almost to the top and put in you earth little by little. In this manner I have set Rosemary which in two years have spread and covered a Wall. I have also known Bowers and Arbours made all of Rosemary which was wondrous sweet and pleasant.
Rosemary, bottom right… from fols. 20v-21r Ps. Apuleius, Herbal
England, St. Augustine's abbey, Canterbury; c. 1070-1100: Bodleian Library, Oxford here
Then, when it has grown a bit, I will take Rycharde Banckes’ advice from his Herbal of 1525..
'Make thee a box of the wood of rosemary and smell to it and it
shall preserve thy youth.' --
I am thinking it better hurry up and grow extremely fast !
Here is a lovely drawing of Rosemary by Charles Rennie Mackintosh
“ROSEMARY / WALBERSWICK / 1915" from the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2012 see here .
It is interesting, particularly because of the informality of the line drawing of the leaves. The line just follows the shape of each leaf without erasing the crossovers. It is a lightness of touch that typifies his drawings. Lovely
And I am in good company with my “Bee and Rosemary” because in the late 1500s Sir Thomas More wrote;
“As for Rosmarine, I lett it runne all over my garden walls, not onlie because my bees love it, but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance, and, therefore, to friendship;”
Bee and Rosemary
Watercolour and pencil on Arches HP, 8”x8”.
And a big thank you to Dorset Wildlife Trust who invited me down to talk about my bees last Friday. My very good friend, bee and general wildlife lover, Jane Adams joined me with her brilliant photos and local knowledge. And thank you, also, to all at the Dorset Owl and Hawk Trust who I met the night before. I had a wonderful time…. there is a lot going on in Dorset!