Arbor Gate's Picks of the Month
Create a Living Herbal Wreath
Wreaths are a popular decoration during the holiday season. This year instead of the musty old artificial wreath you keep stored in the garage, try making a living herbal wreath in four easy steps.
Step 1: Buy a wreath frame filled with sphagnum moss. If you can’t find a pre-made sphagnum moss wreath, buy a small wire frame wreath and stuff it firmly with moss. Remember, the larger the wreath, the more plant material you will need to cover it.
Take your wreath and soak it in a tub or utility sink for an hour or two so that the moss is thoroughly wet. Place a plate or brick over the wreath to keep it submerged.
Step 2: While the wreath is soaking, go out in your garden and clip plenty of 6-inch stems of fresh herbs, ideally ones with semi-woody stems. Good choices include rosemary, sage, thyme, winter savory, oregano, mint, and any artemisias.
Once inside remove the bottom 2-3 leaves from each stem to uncover the leaf nodes on the stems. These nodes will eventually root if kept moist in the sphagnum moss.
Step 3: Using a long, thin tool such as an ice pick or a screwdriver, drill a hole in the moss and insert small clusters of herb stems (2-3 at a time) in the wreath. With your fingers, push the moss back around the herb stems to close the hole. If you have trouble keeping them in place use florist’s wire to secure them to the wreath.
Continue around the wreath inserting herb clusters as you go. Keep them close enough so that the moss barely peeks through the herbs.
Step 4: Complete your wreath with a waterproof hanger made of decorative ribbon or twine. Add colorful decorations to give it a festive mood. Hang your masterpiece and enjoy!
P.S. To help the herbs stay alive, soak your wreath in the shower or with a hose every few days. At the end of the holidays, check for herb cuttings that have begun to root. Transfer them to potting medium in preparation for the coming spring garden.