With the cooling fall weather, herb gardeners are busy harvesting and prepping the garden for winter. This includes some trimming of the shrubs that may have exceeded their alloted space. If one of those shrubs is rosemary, don’t toss the clipped branches. Instead bring them indoors and make a rosemary garland to decorate the family room or fireplace. Rosemary has a lovely pine scent and can serve the same purpose as clipped pine boughs – just with shorter leaves/needles. Here’s what you’ll need:
- An old sheet to cover the work area. Fresh-cut rosemary is sticky and will leave a mess behind.
- A dozen or more rosemary branches at least 18 inches long and as straight as you can find them.
- A sharp pair of garden clippers and your garden gloves.
- Green florist’s wire, green tie-wraps, or green pipe cleaners to hold things together.
- Decorative bows, ribbons, florist’s picks for a little pizzaz.
First spread out the old sheet on a large surface. Then go out and cut your branches, giving them a good shake (to evict garden hitchhikers) before bringing them inside. Gather your equipment and put on your gloves. They will not only protect your skin from scratches but they will prevent the sap on fresh rosemary leaves from making your finger dark and sticky.
Start with two of the longest and straightest branches. Lay them on the work surface in a line, with the leaves pointing in the same direction and the branches overlapping about one third of the length. Use the wire wraps to secure the branches together in two places to help them stay in line.
Repeat this process until you have a line of branches 6′ – 8′ long. Garlands longer than that are difficult to handle. Add decorative bows or florist’s picks to add color and hide any awkward junctures. If you need garlands to hang over a long distance it’s better to create two or three garlands and then connect them in place.
Rosemary garlands will hold up about 1-2 weeks after the branches are cut. After that the leaves will be dry and fall off easily. But in the meantime, your rosemary garland will provide a lovely aroma to the home atmosphere for the holidays.