Gillie Harries

Planting The Trailing Rosemary


I’m having, in this chill, nevertheless,

to rug myself up

to write this in the air full scented.

Tea in my Southwold reminiscence mug

fragrant as an Indian Summer

here at the metal table under

a dormant growth of wisteria.

For now my fingers pulse with blood

yet it’s the quietude, the stilled air

at the dog star end of year, the very cold

 in which I need to do this – cold I wish for.

This steeled implement

with its heft of wooden handle

and it’s magical open cylinder

perfecting the creation of space

for corms, in yet to be frozen tilth.

It’s easy work, simple, satisfying

the childlike precision

of bedding down the memory

of wonder

the scent of rosemary

proffered to ease and appease.

Then, capturing the promise in camera

a Tuscan Summer’s evening

my little olive tree

amethyst orbs of bitterness

never to ripen,

against the contrast flame of Winter jasmine

though I do not like its yellow florescence as

a garden colour,

it pleases me with simplicity, hope.

And sweet scented Virburnam Bodnantense

a hue of new sublime pink.

So, I prune off stems with blossom

gather them to the warmth

place them in the cobalt vase – both gifts

my beloved trio offered.

its perfume will be

a push beyond cinnamon, orange, star anise

emblematic perfume of the year’s turn,

the heart’s longing for growth, small

light, love, renewal.


Although I wrote this on an early, chilly December morning in 2019, when I returned to it in December 2020, it was like a portent of what we have all experienced or have endured, during these Covid days. The Winter garden standing as a metaphor, yet again, for imposed exile, restraint, solitude, repressed growth - but carrying on tiny acts of creativity, revelling in the idea of returned sunlight, life - made way for hope, hopefully.

Planting the Trailing Rosemary
Trailing rosemary.jpg