Magazine article Sunset

A Wreath in a Wink: How to Make an Aromatic Herb Wreath in Minutes, Using Your Own Wreath Jig

Magazine article Sunset

A Wreath in a Wink: How to Make an Aromatic Herb Wreath in Minutes, Using Your Own Wreath Jig

Article excerpt

Fragrant wreaths of lavender, eucalpytus, summer savory, and thyme disappear from Scott Williams's stand at the Saturday Farmers Market in Santa Barbara almost as quickly as he can make them. And when he's surrounded by crowds and his adrenaline is up, that's darn fast - less than five minutes per wreath. What many of his customers really covet, however, is the neat little gizmo he uses to make them. "Boy, could I use one of those," said one gardener, with undisguised envy. "At the end of the season, I have all these herbs that need to be pruned, and it just kills me to toss them. With this, I could make wreaths for all my friends."

Williams, an organic herb and flower grower, understands her point of view. A desire not to let any of his harvest go to waste is what led him to design this tool, which is a simplified version of a commercial jig. So he's generously sharing instructions for making one, as well as providing suggestions for how to use the jig to create simple wreaths from end-of-the-season garden clippings.

Williams's jig, which is nothing more than a ring of evenly spaced dowels secured in a plywood base, frees his hands. The dowels hold the herb cuttings in place as he assembles them, then guide the twine when he's ready to bundle the lot together into a wreath. The directions on page 82 are for a jig to make a wreath that is 10 inches in diameter, Williams's most popular size, but you can make a larger or smaller jig.

Enjoy your wreath while the herbs retain their savor and color. Then toss it into the compost and make another.

How to make a wreath jig

You can make your own jig following the directions below. But if you'd rather buy a jig than build one, Williams can oblige. Write or call Santa Barbara Gardens & Company, Box 6701, Santa Barbara, CA 93160 (805/964-0679; fax 805/964-4233) for a Wreath Wizard brochure. The jigs come in five sizes; a 10-inch wreath jig costs $49.99.

TIME: 1 1/2 hours to make, plus several hours to dry

COST: $10 to $15

MATERIALS

* Two squares of 3/4-inch-thick plywood a few inches larger than the desired diameter of your wreath. For example, cut two 13-inch squares for a 10-inch wreath.

* Compass, pencil, drill with 1/2-inch bit, wood glue, clamps, mallet

* A dozen 1/2-inch-thick hardwood dowels, cut to 4 3/4-inch lengths

DIRECTIONS

1. …

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