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One of the most important methods of keeping a healthy herb garden is to harvest your herbs and flowers. Each culinary herb will grow faster than we can use in the kitchen. After we have harvested fresh for each night's dinner, dried some leaves to use in the winter, and made herbal vinegar, we still need to snip back growth sprigs on each plant. So, what better way to utilize these growing herbs than to create fresh arrangements?

For the kitchen table, you may wish to make an arrangement with culinary herbs. Extra springs of marjoram, rosemary, and pineapple sage will brighten any table. Lavender, rosemary and flowering catnip would be a fragrant bouquet in the bathroom. Buddleia, daisies, dill flowers and artimesia would be a large, lovely display for the porch or entrance.

Here are a couple of easy tips for keeping these bouquets fresh.

  • Harvest you herbs early in the morning or later in the afternoon when they are not under heat or sun stress.
  • Most flowers absorb water best if cuts are made between nodes or joints. Never crush the stems, as the damaged tissue will not absorb water well. Sharp, clean cuts are best
  • Be sure your vase is absolutely clean and no debris from the last bouquet remains. If so, add a few drops of Clorox in the vase and rinse thoroughly.
  • Be sure to remove all leaves that will be under water.
  • Change the water daily. Always use fresh cold water. Keep bouquet away from the air conditioning, heater, or fan drafts. A draft will cause your foliage to dry out and water to evaporate.
  • Some herbs with woody stems drink a lot of water, especially after the first few days.
  • Inspect the herb and flower stalks when changing the water. Make a fresh cut on a stalk if it looks as if it is getting soggy from being under water.
  • If the stalk bends over, it may have developed an air lock and water is unable to be absorbed. You need to recut the stalk above the bend.
  • Remove spent herb sprigs and flowers as they decay.

A happy herb or flower garden is harvested regularly. An old, American Indian custom, is to thank the plant each time you snip a sprig or flower!

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