Monday, May 14, 2007


When we lived on the island of Ibiza in Spain, in an old finca out on a point of land overlooking Tagomago Island in the Mediterranean, wild rosemary grew everywhere around us - not quite a weed - among the almond, olive and carob trees, and the sheep didn't eat it, which was great. We used it for cooking of course, skewers too; I even made toothpicks, chopsticks and I Ching sticks out of it.

It never grew very large there, though, given the hard soil, heat and general dryness, but it was a constant companion of that place-- an old face, year round. So when we moved here to the mountain, one of the first things I put in the garden was a rosemary plant. It was a mere sprout at the time, but there's lots more water here, and with all that moisture and care the rosemary is now very large, more than twice the height it grew in Spain, and gangly as a result, its long older branches eventually reaching more along the ground than rising toward the sky, the way the new branches do before they too grow lengthy and stretch out along the earth.

About this time of year, when the rosemary is putting out all the new shoots on its branches, and the branches themselves are bouncy with moisture from the generous Spring rains, the entire plant takes on a floppy life of its own in the mountain wind; but whenever I take the hose and use the strong jet to wash away the tangles of spider webs and windblown leaves that about now begin to clog the scented branches, the rosemary reminds me of a big green sheepdog gallumping playfully in and out of the waterstream with its long wet green fur, away and toward what feels so good but is also fun to avoid. The new branchings are not yet woody, and the light silvery tint to their underleaves makes them seem all the more like big furry green sunbleached paws romping in fun with the hose on a warm day.

And when we're done with the hose bath, there's nothing cleaner, greener and loving drying itself in the breezy sun, than the rosemary dog.


Anonymous said...

It's realy interesting. Thanks!

Best regards,
Java Games Master

Todd said...

One of my favourite Canadian authors wrote a book in which Ibiza features prominently - Joshua Then and Now by Mordecai Richler. Sounds like a wonderful place.

vegetablej said...

Love this plant! Beautiful purple flowers that remind me of my childhood in Canada (it was one of the wildflowers I often picked for bouquets, probably because it was everywhere) and now a great organic aid to growing tomatoes.

I was surprised to see it in Japan, along with "wild asters". Are these plants imported?