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How-to: Herby bundles for your kitchen

Add a deliciously fragrant finish to your cooking space with this tutorial...
   Katie Byrne  |  written on: 06-04-2022 07:20am

Extract taken from WREATHS: Fresh, foraged & dried floral arrangements by Katie Smyth & Terri Chandler.

This project would meet with William Morris’s approval: it is both useful and beautiful. As well as looking good it also dries out herbs to cook with. And it doesn’t just have to be made using herbs, it looks wonderful with flowers and all types of foliage that dry well. 

You can make it as a decoration at any time of year, using little pine bundles at Christmas, or brightly coloured leaves during autumn. You can hang the bundles in front of a window or all around the kitchen walls. When bundles become too old you can snip them off and add new ones. They liven up a kitchen immediately as well as adding personality.

If you are picking herbs from the garden, try to gather them on a dry day, not after rain. As with flowers, they are best picked early in the morning when the sun has not had time to reach them, because as wonderful as the sun is, its heat will evaporate the essential oils needed to flavour your dishes or create a lovely scent in your home.

Choose different textures, colours and scents to make your bundles look and smell wonderful. As the herbs, flowers and leaves start to dry out they will lose their colour and start looking more brown, yellow and aged, which we think looks equally good. You can make this project as long or as short as you like.

MATERIALS

- Florist’s scissors
- Twine
- 2 small nails or picture hooks, if required
- Flowers + foliage
- 15 stems of bay leaf
- 15 stems of heather
- 15 stems of lavender
- 15 stems of black pepper
- 15 stems of rosemary
- 15 stems of sage
- 25 stems of thyme

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Before you start, lay out piles of the different herbs, flowers and foliage you will be using. Create bundles of the same herbs or create mixed bunches that complement each other.

2. Take two to four stems of each herb and arrange them into a small bundle. For this project the stem lengths vary between 10cm (4in) and 20cm (8in) long. It is more interesting visually when the stems are different lengths.

3. Decide where to wrap the twine on each bundle and strip all the foliage or flowers from that point downwards. If the twine is wrapped over the actual foliage it will encourage mould to form, which will spread down the stem. Wrap the twine around four to five times and then tie tightly. Snip off one end of the twine and leave the other end long enough so that it can hang off the twine that you will attach to the wall. Cut the stems so about 4cm (1½in) of it appears after the string.

4. Measure the length of the wall or window you would like to hang the herbs along. Allow for any sagging that may occur when you attach the herbs and cut the twine to length. If there are no existing fixings from which you can hang the twine, then a small hook or nail for each end will do. Attach the twine to the fixings quite tightly so that a natural curve is formed once the bundles are added. Start to add the bundles one by one so that they hang down approximately 5–10cm (2–4in) from the main  twine. You can also hang them at different lengths if you prefer. 

TIP! As well as removing foliage at the point the string is tied, be sure not to put too many stems together as this will encourage mould to grow between them. Air needs to circulate between the stems, so we would suggest no more than four stems per bundle, especially if you want to use them for cooking afterwards.

ALSO... Use different textures and colours each time you add a bundle so that it is interesting to look at and it draws the eye in.

Extract taken from WREATHS: Fresh, foraged & dried floral arrangements by Katie Smyth & Terri Chandler (Quadrille, £14.99), out 5 April and available to order here. Photography: Kristin Perers.





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Katie Byrne


Katie Byrne is a writer, editor and filter fan (coffee, not Instagram), and lives in a Georgian-built flat that features various statement cobwebs.