How To Make An Herb Wreath
It's not too late to plant herbs this summer but aside from the bounty of your garden for you and your family, you can also get a jump start on some green (literally) Christmas gifts.
I recently picked up a book that I just love. It's called I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas by Anna Getty with photographs by Ron Hamad. It is a beautiful book with wonderful recipes and projects for eco-friendly gift giving and holiday baking.
But you don't have to wait until Christmas to make a wreath from your own herb garden. This project can be made any time you can harvest fresh herbs from the garden or buy them fresh. It can even be an ongoing project as you add more and more to the wreath.
A homemade gift is something to treasure, whether it's a gift to yourself or to someone you love. I made one of the herb wreaths for myself but plan on making others for my favorite cooks as I harvest more herbs throughout the summer and fall.
- Wreath frame (wood, metal or other non-toxic composition)
- Green florist wire (24-gauge)
- Wire cutters
- Ribbon if desired
- Varied herbs (see list below)
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
- Most herbs can be used fresh and do not have to be pre-dried. You can purchase dried herbs such as bay leaves at any grocery store. I used all fresh herbs that I cut from my garden, set in groups in my basket as I cut them. You can also buy fresh herbs at the local farmer's market and achieve the same effect.
- I didn't wash or dry my herbs because they came straight out of my container gardens. I did spin them in the salad spinner gently just to brush off any dust and dirt.
- Prepare your herbs in bundles. Cut parsley for instance so that you have a compact little group of it (about 3 inches in diameter at the head and maybe 5 inches long). Secure the stems of your herbs together with florist wire as if you were tying them, leaving 2 ends of the wire with several inches of extra wire to attach to the wreath. (I precut 8 inch or so lengths of floral wire so I'd have them ready to use on the bundles as I prepared them)
- Begin attaching the bundles. Start wherever you like on the wreath frame and attach 1 bundle securely. Continue adding bundles, tucking the stems of the previous one you've attached beneath the fresh bundle you apply. You can go counterclockwise or clockwise. It really doesn't matter as long as the stems are covered.
- Continue adding bundles until you achieve the desired fullness. All parts of the frame itself should be covered when you look at it from the front.
- Attach a floral wire hanger on the back of the wreath where you want it to hang if particular about which end is up.
- Attach a bow or raffia ribbon for a fancier wreath.
- Hang or place in a box for wrapping - leave open to air until dried if not shipping right away.
--Make sure you alternate herbs according to texture and color - it makes for a more attractive end result
--For a 7 or 8-inch wreath frame, you could use 10-20 herb bundles although it depends on the herbs you use
--You can continue adding to the wreath after you've finished if it begins to shrink
--You can use all dried herbs - the effect is much different but just as lovely
HOMEMADE GIFT IDEAS
I read this book several weeks ago and knew that my herbs would probably be just about ready to harvest so decided to try out this "recipe."
I found it was quite easy to make the wreath and all in all, including the time to harvest the herbs and prepare them, it took me under an hour.
The wreath frames themselves were very inexpensive. I bought the wooden one at the Dollar Tree. I also found the green wreath frames at Michael's craft store. Small ones run about 99 cents.
You can make little herb wreaths or make larger ones depending on how many herbs you want to add.
For the herb portion of my wreath, I used the following herbs I had in my garden:
- Peppermint and spearmint
- Sage (different kinds)
- Oregano (different kinds)
- Thyme (different kinds)
- Parsley and flat-leaf parsley
HOMEMADE GIFTS FOR CHRISTMAS
In short, after reading Ms. Getty's book chock full of green Christmas ideas, I've decided to put many of her suggestions to great use.
The herb wreath is just one of her many excellent ideas in the book. She has some great recipes for the holiday (like Sweet Potato Enchiladas) and projects (like newspaper Christmas stockings). You just might discover some recipes or traditions you'll want to treasure forever.
The craft ideas are things that the whole family can become involved in as are some of the recipes. Much more importantly, her ideas are based on concepts that teach us to use what we have and thereby create a greener world.
The herb wreath will dry out within about a week. It will last for about 6 weeks in the open air. After that, you can pinch off the herbs and place them in bags or bottles for use as dried herbs. During the drying, it's a great way to have your herbs readily accessible. I hung mine on a hook in my kitchen so that I could pinch off fresh herbs and then subsequently dried.
You can purchase a set of herb and spice bottles to go along with your homemade herb wreath. When it comes time to pinch off and store the dried herbs, you'll have your bottles ready. A set of bottles also makes a great gift item to go along with your herb wreath.
When you assemble your herb wreath, tie on little pieces of ribbon with the name of the herb noted to identify the herbs or take a photo and add the names of your herbs.
The Youtube video below shares the thoughts behind Anna Getty's book. You'll get a preview of some of the recipes and suggestions on how you can make simple homemade Christmas gifts and foods. While primarily a Christmas book, I find that many of the ideas like this great herb wreath are useful year round.
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