A Bountiful Summer Wreath

Start fresh for ­sturdy beauty.

| August/September 1996

• DIY: Fresh Herb Wreath 

Late summer’s herb garden holds a profusion of colorful flowers and aromatic foliage. Before this bounty is touched by fall’s chill, wander through the garden, gather stems of your favorite herbs, and wrap them into a fresh herb wreath. The fragrance of a fresh herb wreath is intoxicating, and as it dries, the wreath subtly changes shapes and colors.

A fresh herb wreath is easy to make. Unlike its dried counterpart, a fresh wreath is made from herbs and flowers straight from the garden. Fresh flowers and leaves are easily bent and shaped as you bind them onto a wreath base. The finished wreath dries within several days, and the result is a delicate-looking but sturdy, long-lasting wreath.

A wide selection of herbs and flowers work well in a fresh wreath. Best are plants with small to medium-sized, nonfleshy leaves and small to medium-sized flowers or flower clusters. Large, flat leaves or flowers with broad, open petals just wilt and collapse, leaving the wreath with holes or dips instead of fullness. In the wreath pictured at left, I’ve used oregano, prostrate rosemary, lemon thyme, pineapple mint, fringed wormwood, anise hyssop, curly parsley, lamb’s-ears, lavender, bay leaves, and chive flowers.

I sometimes make wreaths of a single herb with leaves that are pretty or visually interesting after they dry. My favorites for this kind of wreath include garden sage, sweet woodruff, curly parsley, and pot marjoram. If you make several fresh herb wreaths at a time, you’ll have extras to offer as holiday or thank-you gifts.

When you’re ready to make fresh herb wreaths, ask a gardening friend to join you. Set out the tea tray, pick out a palette of fresh herbal flowers and leaves, and settle down for a pleasant afternoon of friendship and fragrance.

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