3 Creative Ways to Use What Grows in Your Garden
You’ve tended to your garden throughout the spring and summer seasons. Home gardening has become one of your favorite and most cherished hobbies - which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
Home gardening is very meditative. It connects us to the earth and it grounds us. For many, it’s relaxing, yet a sometimes tough hobby that gives reason to get outside and enjoy nature right within the comfort of their own backyard.
But when you’ve nurtured your garden and watched it grow, you might find it hard to watch the fall weather set in. Overnight frost begins to take place. Your flowers and herbs begin to recede for the winter. So, how can you hold onto those summer memories and have them help you ride out the winter months?
We’ve got all the ways you can bring your garden indoors. From pressing flowers to sage bundles, there are various creative ways you can honor your garden and all that’s in it.
Related Article: How Gardening Can Help You Practice Mindfulness
How to Press & Preserve Flowers
Pressing flowers isn’t reserved for just flowers from your garden. You can also use this technique to press sentimental flowers, such as that bouquet from your wedding or that beautiful bundle of flowers from your S.O.
Ideally, you want fresh flowers for this method to work. This means flowers that have just bloomed or may still be budding. If you take these flowers from your garden, do so in the morning just after the dew has evaporated.
Not ready to press your flowers right this instant? That’s okay! Gently place them in a resealable bag in your fridge until you’ve got the time.
Now, without further delay, here are exactly the steps you need to create a beautiful assortment of pressed and preserved flowers.
STEP 1 - Preparation
Cut the stem of the flowers at an angle (this allows for maximum water absorption), then remove the leaves lower down.
Place the flowers in a vase containing water and plant/flower food. If you don’t have flower food, don’t fret! A teaspoon of sugar works as well. Allow your flowers to hydrate for a couple of hours.
While flat face flowers are much easier to press, it doesn’t mean you can’t press other types. For thicker variations, cut them down the middle with a knife or scissors. Once this is done, face the flat part of the flower face-down on a piece of paper to help them dry. Printer paper, cardboard, and even coffee filters work well for this stage.
And then… you’re ready to start pressing!
STEP 2 - Time to Start Pressing Flowers
There are many ways you can press your flowers. Many people use wooden flower presses. Yet, this can take some work to create. You need two boards and a bolt & wingnut. The bolt & wingnuts go in each corner, while your flower is pressed in between the two boards and in between two blotter sheets (such as printer paper).
You then leave the flowers for three to four weeks. However, you will need to attend to the blotter sheets every three to four days to change them.
You can also make this much less complicated by using a book or blocks to hold the flowers down and in place. In this similar scenario, you still want to use two blotter papers on either side of the flower or plant.
There are also faster ways for pressing flowers, including ironing and using a microwave. Ironing takes only a few minutes. Meanwhile, the microwaving process requires a few days to complete.
STEP 3 - Displaying Your Pressed Flowers
Many individuals place pressed flowers into frames to hang in their homes. This is easy to do. You simply need a glass frame where you can glue the flower to the back of it. This holds it in place.
Another option is creating an album of your favorite flowers. Purchase a regular photo album and glue or place your flowers into it as a keepsake.
How to Create a Bundle of Sage
Okay - who doesn’t love the smell and relaxing effects of sage? There’s something about smudging with sage that just clears the air of negativity and brings only positivity and calming vibes forth.
While you can simply buy bundles of sages in the store, you can also make your own. And it’s easier than you may think!
You’ll need some sage - and potentially other herbs if you choose, such as allspice, basil, bay leaves, and more. Lastly, you will need a piece of cotton string.
Most experts recommend bundling the sage when it is still fresh. Here’s how you do it!
Bundle the stalks of herbs or sage together. Keeping it tight, start from the bottom and crisscross the bundle with the cotton string all the way to the top.
Once at the top, twist the string and do the same thing coming back down the bundle. Ensure you get all the leaves tightly intertwined in the string. None should be left hanging outside of the bundle.
Knot the string once done. You may even choose to trim the top or bottom here as well.
Lastly, let your bundle dry out. Hanging it can help this happen that much faster!
Once your bundle is dried out, you can light the end of it and bring it with you throughout your home or use it before your yoga practice for good vibes only.
How to Turn Herbs into Spices, Butter, and Soap
Herbs aren’t only for decor. You can also make spices, butter, or soap from them!
And most often, this all starts with the same general steps. You’ve got to harvest your herbs first.
Surprisingly, most herbs can be harvested whether they are fresh or dry. It really is up to you. Ideally, you want to harvest them in the early morning hours regardless (once the morning dew has dried). They should also be fully mature. For most herbs, they mature within six weeks.
When taking pieces from your herb, don’t take more than one-third at a time, while also leaving a few weeks in between each harvesting to allow time for your little herb to recover.
After you’ve harvested them, you will need to dry them out (unless whatever recipe you’re making requires fresh herbs). We recommend making bundles and hanging them to dry. This may take several days.
From there, making spices is pretty self-explanatory. You can cut them up and store them or use them in a new recipe.
Our Favorite Herb Recipes
Homemade herb butter also doesn’t require much. Usually, you need unsalted butter, herbs, a way to beat them together, and plastic wrap for storage. You can find an array of herb butter recipes online (and they are oh-so-tasty!).
DIY herb soap, on the other hand, is a little bit more of a bigger task. However, if you’ve got an afternoon, by all means, go for it! There are also many recipes and instructions online for making all kinds of different DIY herb soaps.
Bring Your Herbs Indoors
There’s so much more to gardening than just simply gardening. You can even bring your outdoor garden and create an indoor garden (depending on your plants). In fact, a lot of people replant or transfer their herbs for the winter to indoor containers.
To bring your herb garden indoors, you will need to replant them in a suitable pot. Depending on the herb, the amount of watering, cutting, and tending to it may need can vary. Look up your specific herb and follow the instructions carefully. That way you get to enjoy fresh herbs all year round!
Get Creative With Your Garden!
Most importantly, have fun with it. Making herb soaps, herb butter, herb spices, pressed flowers, bundles of sage, and more is supposed to be fun. Invite some close friends over and make an afternoon of it. Maybe it will even become a yearly tradition.
Read Next: How to Start an Indoor Garden