Garden Frame: A Rosemary Flower Portrait, Finally!!!

Description: Portrait of a small bouquet of rosemary flowers

Background: When I planned the herb garden, two herbs, rosemary and thyme were accorded top billing. These I use frequently, and I liked the idea of being able to step outside and get them fresh. Thyme, I had successfully grown in the past, but rosemary always died—always

Being well aware of my history of growing rosemary, I bought two eight-inch tall plants instead of the seedling size plants chosen for the other herbs. Fearing I would do-in the rosemary plants, I bought large ones so that if they did die, I could at least use the leaves. I should not have worried.

Going into the seventh year, my rosemary has thrived. However, for some reason, one plant is easily five times the size of the other. The larger rosemary bush happily grows to six feet in diameter, crowding my neighbor’s driveway. I try to keep the bush trimmed by cutting off about two feet of growth at least once a year. I have all the fresh and dried rosemary I could ever want! 

My rosemary blooms from mid-winter to spring, and for some reason, I never noticed the blossoms until two years ago. Even then, it never occurred to me to photograph them. The flowers are tiny, and usually there were only a few, so they were never compelling subjects.  

Last winter, I did notice the blossoms and tried to take pictures. I used a few different film cameras and at least three digital cameras. Yet, not a single shot came out well. Most were badly out of focus, even though they were all AF cameras. The few that were mostly in focus had drab colors or were overexposed. I could not figure out the problem. Why did rosemary refuse to be photographed? This year, having learned to use metering modes and more about macrophotography, I used spot-focusing and an f14 aperture to shoot the blossoms. I had no idea rosemary flowers were so stunningly beautiful.

 Technical:  Maxxum 7D, Maxxum 100mm f2.8 macro, f14, 1/90, ISO 400, spot focus/metering, overcast sky.

Comments: These rosemary bushes are in a yard section that isn’t meant to receive water from the sprinklers. The smaller bush, however, is next to an area that does. I think I killed past potted plants by overwatering. Happily, I have a thriving rosemary bush that has exploded with blossoms.  

Looking at the orchid-like blooms, especially the deep purple ribbons that jut out from the centers, one gets a feeling that a master florist arranged each tiny bouquet simply to impress. If so, it worked!!!

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