We braved a cold, damp Saturday morning (well, the 40s is cold for us here in San Francisco . . . we also wanted to test out our new parkas for our trip to Brooklyn and New England next week!) to meet at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. There is always a great selection of seasonal goodies at this beautiful market, but in winter, the pickings can be slim for the traditional flowery things. We passed up a few really tight quince branches and some big-headed tulips; we just weren’t in the mood for anything too colorful. We spied a table of tiny mixed herb bundles that got us thinking about an arrangement that would be small but dense and packed with fresh, earthy fragrance. — StudioChoo
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We started to collect herbs in a variety of textures and shades of green; dark, leafy bay; soft, wispy dill; juicy, bright parsley; and short, mixed bundles. We kept it simple — we chose things that were pretty and had a nice smell. Keep in mind that some herbs hold up better than others (especially if you are making a bouquet for an event). Bay, rosemary, and thyme are all sturdy options. We also selected a bunch of willow branches with fuzzy pods and narcissus with lots of buds to add a touch of winter white to our arrangements.
We were able to get two pieces from a single stem of some of our herbs (like parsley) by clipping at a diagonal where the two leaves fork. We also added faux stems to short herbs (like thyme) by attaching them to the end of an extra twig with floral tape. Floral tape is not sticky to the touch, but as it is stretched around the stems, the adhesive material in the tape is activated and sticks to itself.
Putting it all together was easy; we just started gathering a loose bundle in hand using two to three stems of each herb clustered together. We added in a few willow branches and continued adding herbs in small clusters until the bouquet grew to about six-inches wide. Then we fed some paperwhites down through the herbs (near the willow branches) to create one or two focal areas in the bouquet. Finally we taped a thin section just under the start of the leaves to hold it together. We wanted a natural look for the handle, so we layered on another column of herbs to cover the tape and wrapped it a few times with brown twine. We followed the same process (with fewer stems) for a smaller bouquet and pin-on. If you’d like to make an arrangement instead, just skip the taping and place in a low vessel with a narrow opening to support short stems.
We put together the branch bracelet by looping a few stems of willow into a wrist-sized circle. The tips of branches work well for this because they are a bit more flexible than the thicker part of the branch. We used a little brown floral tape to close the ends together and adorned with a bit of rambling thyme and a paperwhite blossom. Have fun!