Herbs can be made into decorative and fragrant arrangements either alone or with other garden flowers. Rosemary, sage, borage, feverfew, marjoram, lemon balm, thyme, chives, mint, camomile and parsley are all attractive either in leaf or in flower, while seed heads of fennel, caraway or dill add contrast and interest.
A limited color range often works best; include variety of texture as well as of leaf shape. Most containers can be used but country-style pottery looks particularly attractive, especially as informal arrangements suit herbs best. Evergreen herbs, such as sage and rosemary, make excellent foliage backgrounds for brighter flowers, especially in the winter when options for fresh arrangements are limited. Use dry florist’s foam (Styrofoam) held in place with a spike or tape, to help you shape your arrangement.
Posies of fresh herbs make delightful gifts or table decorations. Tie a few herb sprigs into a posy, sit a small doily to the center and wrap it around the back of the posy to resemble a lace frill. Finish with a pretty ribbon. A handful of posies in a basket makes a pretty and fragrant table- center decoration.
Dried Herb Arrangements
Herbs make excellent additions to your dried flower arrangements, whether you use seed heads, flower stems, leaves or grasses. Follow the same design principles as you would when creating a fresh arrangement. For dried arrangements, your choice of containers is unlimited as they do not need to be watertight and baskets really come into their own. If the materials are fragile, wire the stems or wire bunches of stems together.
Dried herbal wreaths can be made using a florist’s foam (Styrofoam) ring, available from good florists, or you can bind thick twine or straw around a circle of wire. Use dense leaves, such as bay to form a dark background then gradually build up a pattern of sprigs of lavender, rosemary, sage and other herbs. You can vary this idea by making dried arrangements on spheres of dry florist’s foam (Styrofoam).
Traditionally used to scent linen drawers and keep away moths, lavender bottles require long stemmed lavender flowers, picked just as they come into flower. Tie together a bunch of about 20 stalks just below the flower heads, then bend the stalks up and over the flower heads and tie again above the flowers so that they are enclosed in the stalks. Trim the ends. Weave a fine ribbon in and out of the stalks to enclose the flower heads.
Sachets made of cotton lawn, tied at the top and decorated with a ribbon bow, make lovely gifts or are also nice to keep for yourself! Use 1 cup each of dried lavender flowers and dried rosemary and mix with 1 cup each of ground orris root and a few drops of oil of roses or with a few tablespoons of crushed cloves and a tablespoon of powdered fried orange rind.
Pressed Herb Crafts
Pressed herbs can be used to make bookmarks, greeting cards and pictures or even to decorate jars for gifts of homemade herbal cosmetics or preserves. Collect together all your materials before you start: a soft paintbrush, rubber-based glue, the pressed petals and leaves and the item you wish to decorate.
Sketch your design roughly then practice positioning the herbs, moving them with a paintbrush until you have a pleasing arrangement. Your designs should be simple until you have gained a little experience and confidence; try reproducing a simple flower, banquet or arrangement.
When you are happy with the design, lift the pieces and apply some glue with a cocktail stick (toothpick). If there are several layers to the design, let one layer dry before adding the next. Cover flat designs with a sheet of glass or board and weigh down with books overnight so that the herbs dry flat. Cover designs on glass or jars with adhesive film or glass, or paint with lacquer to protect them. Pressed flower pictures should be kept out ot direct sunlight so that they do not fade.
Kali S Winters
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