Looking at Landcare: Plants and rememberance

Hi Landcarers

Vegetation, in its many forms, whether native or cropping, is always of interest to me, due to the important role that it provides to our countryside.

In the lead up to Anzac Day, I thought I would have a look into some of the vegetation and plants that we recognise as having a connection with remembrance and sacrifice.

The Lone Pine that we see photographed at the Lone Pine Cemetery at Gallipoli strikes a sombre mood and sets a tone of seriousness and for me, a protective cover for the graves that it accompanies.

Before the landing at Gallipoli Cove in 1914, the Turkish soldiers felled the lone pine to make shelters for their trenches that they had dug into the hills and ridges.

Sergeant Keith McDowell, of the 29th Battalion collected a pine cone from the remains of the Lone Pine (Pinus brutia) and popped it in his rucksack as a souvenir. He brought the cone home and gave it to his Aunt, Emma Gray, who lived near Warnambool. Not until 12 years later, did Mrs Gray plant a few seeds and four seedlings survived. In 1933, one of those seedlings was planted at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance.

The Flanders Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) flower in spring, but can be planted in autumn on Anzac Day. What a wonderful way to talk about Anzac Day with the kids or to just have your own quiet moment of remembrance.

The poppy is worn on Remembrance Day, which is recognised on November 11 (the date that marks the Armistice of 11/11/1918). The poppies which have blood-red flowers grow naturally in disturbed soil. They grew and flowered in and around the battlefields of France. 

For me, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), dried or fresh for cooking or even if you brush past the bush, always reminds me of Anzac Day. It is a wonderful herb that is a beautiful ornamental plant as well as a seasoning. The Latin name means dew of the sea.

The Gallipoli Oak grows along the ridges and valleys of the Gallipoli peninsula, in modern south-west Turkey. This is significant as the location of the first major battle undertaken by the ANZACs during the First World War (1914-18).

Acorns were collected by several soldiers during the campaign and sent or brought back to Australia where some were subsequently planted. One of these soldiers was Captain William Lempriere Winter-Cooke, who planted them in his family property near Hamilton in western Victoria.

There are many websites with information about vegetation that is not only significant to remembrance, but native to many of the areas that Australian troops have served.

Whether you commemorate Anzac Day by yourself or are up at the Dawn Service, you can’t help but grow in appreciation for the freedom that we and many other countries appreciate because of those that have made sacrifices for us through their service. Lest We Forget.

Rosemary varieties not only make a connection with remembrance, but also help to sustain our bee population.

Rosemary varieties not only make a connection with remembrance, but also help to sustain our bee population.

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