Scented Herb Bundles & Winter Bouquets

Winter Floral Bouquet in an ikebana vase | Plants: ornamental grape, fern, pelargonium, miscanthus

The winter dormant season is short here. Soon the daffodils will burst out bright yellow in unapologetic optimism, and I’ll wake up one day to find the flowering plums have come out in delicate blossoms like pink snow.

But for now, the garden is inward and there is scarcely a flower in sight. The winter pulls me inward as well, into semi-hibernation, and I’m filled with the primal desire to be cozy next to a wood fire while creative forces germinate within.

Herb bundles of sage, rockrose, bay and rosemary for winter wood fires

In aid of this cozy atmosphere, I like to harvest handfuls of Cleveland sage, rosemary, bay tree twigs, and rockrose. I tie them in bundles with a piece of twine or raffia, and hang the bunches in the house, where they waft their woodsy aroma while drying. Once dried, I use handfuls of them as scented kindling for making a fire.

It’s often this time of year that I will splurge for purchased flower bouquets. However, I also like the creative challenge of making a non-traditional bouquet with whatever I can find in the garden in winter, borrowing inspiration from ikebana.

I might harvest some curly willow or hazelnut branches, or some dried ornamental grasses awaiting their winter pruning, a few red twigs from dormant blueberries, some rose geranium or fern foliage, a jasmine tendril, or a single geranium bud. If, like me, you have a little collection of interesting small rocks or mossy bark or weathered twig that you picked up during a walk, those can feature as well. A florist frog is very useful and you can get creative about containers–a pretty bowl or saucer, a repurposed piece of upcycled “trash,” or something with an aged patina — as long as it holds water. For some gorgeous handmade ikebana vases, check out Dovetail Collection in Healdsburg.

Plus, an arrangement need not be indoors. Outside the front door on a stand, I keep a little collection of natural things that I pick up on walks: an abandoned bird nest, a piece of moss, fluffy artichoke blooms, a pine cone, some egg-shaped rocks.

Floral scissors and dried arrangement
An outdoor arrangement of found objects
A curly hazelnut cuts a striking form in winter, and its twigs are ideal for ikebana bouquets

I hope you will send me photos of your creations! Stay safe and be well.


2 thoughts on “Scented Herb Bundles & Winter Bouquets

  1. I really like your characterization of the winter garden as “inward” and your thoughtful collections. Scented kindling is a lovely thought. Your arrangement of pebbles in the abandoned bird’s nest is a thing of beauty. Your post has inspired me to find occasions for contemplation and appreciation in the winter garden.

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