• One 6-inch ring
• 1 roll florist tape, 1/2 inch wide
• 1 roll waxed florist twine or strong green twine
• 1 1/2 sheets newspaper, torn into six equal parts, each measuring about 11 x 7 inches
• 2 sheets green tissue paper or waxed florist paper, 18 x 12 inches
• 1 spool transparent nylon thread or carpet thread
• Straight pins
• 13 to 15 stems of 7 or 8 different herbs and herbal flowers: a total of at least 100 stems
1. To make the base: Bind the ring completely with the florist tape to give it a slightly sticky surface; this helps keep the newspaper from slipping. Tie the waxed twine to the base (the tape-covered ring). Wrap one of the sheets of newspaper tightly around one-sixth of the base and bind it on firmly with the twine. Add a second sheet, overlapping the first one slightly, and bind it on. Continue until the base is evenly and firmly wrapped with newspaper.
2. Add a finishing layer of green tissue, wrapping and binding the tissue as you did the newspaper. Tie off the twine and cut it.
3. To add the herbs: Push a straight pin into the base partway, wrap the nylon thread around the pin several times, then push the pin down into the base until the head is level with the surface. To secure the thread, wrap it around the base several times over the pinhead.
4. Assemble the cut herbs and flowers. Cut the leafy stems to lengths of 2 to 21/2 inches. Snip the flower heads, leaving a 2- or 3-inch stem on each one. Prepare extra stems and flowers in case you need them. Lay the wreath base flat on the table in front of you. Arrange the snipped herbs and flowers on the table above the wreath base, keeping each variety in a separate pile.
5. Take two or three pieces of a leafy herb and hold them against the outside of the wreath base at the point at which the thread is attached. Bind the stems onto the base. Place another bunch next to the first one and bind on, then add a third bunch beside the second, firmly winding the thread around the base and plant stems. You should now have about 1 inch of the base completely hidden with no green paper showing through. If the foliage isn’t dense enough, add more on top of what’s already there.
6. Select the leaves and flowers that you want to use for the next few bunches. Position the next bunch on top of the stems of the first bunch that you bound on. Continue in this way all around the base, alternating colors and textures of leaves and flower heads. (If the thread breaks while you are binding the herbs to the base, just push in another pin and reattach the thread from the spool. Don’t worry about the loose thread; it will be hidden by stems and leaves.) Keep the wreath flat on the table in front of you as you work around the base. Arrange the herb leaves and flowers in attractive, complementary patterns.
7. When the wreath is finished, lay it on newspaper or in a basket and let it sit in a warm, dry place. If you want to hang it immediately, you’ll need to rotate the wreath every day so that it dries evenly. A small wreath takes five to eight days to dry. Check it daily to see if any holes are developing as the plant material dries. Sometimes, you can coax partially dry leaves over a small gap by gently rearranging the leaves with your fingertips. If you notice holes after the wreath is fully dry, tuck in some clusters of fresh herbs and let it dry further.
Betsy Williams of Andover, Massachusetts, explores many facets of growing and enjoying herbs, including planning herbal weddings, lecturing, and writing. This wreath and many others will be featured in a new book called The Proper Season, to be published in 1997 by Prospect Hill Press in Baltimore.
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