Simple Herb Planter Box

This is a guest post written by Jill Hammond.

One of my favorite weekend activities is going to the nursery and loading up my arms with new plants and pots and unnecessary tools while I dream up ambitious backyard plans and projects. 

I’m a dreadful gardener, but I've recently discovered the joy of faking it. As with every craft, there are endless rules and techniques to plant care. Since I'm generally intimidated by new things and I have a serious aversion to rules, I generally attempt to rein in my outlandish ideas and stick to simple projects. I'm in it purely for the therapeutic side effects and elements of surprise. If I fail and everything withers away, there's no harm in scrapping it and learning from my own amateur mistakes.

This planter box is a great start for other terrible gardeners out there. The beauty is that it will get you outside, you'll get your hands dirty and you'll walk away feeling like you’ve made something that will continue to pay off (which it will!). It’s easy as ever to maintain and you can swap out your herbs at any time. If the maintenance is overwhelming and your herbs bite the dust, don't stress about it; just plop in a few succulents in their place! (Although having fresh herbs at your disposal is a great way to enhance your culinary efforts and is way more cost effective than buying herbs at the market, to boot.)


A crate or box (I found this old, divided crate at a flea market for less than ten dollars)
Herb seedlings (the ones I bought were about two dollars a pop)
Potting Soil (a small bag costs about $5)
Small shovel (or just use your hands)

How To
1. Drill some holes in the bottom of the crate—two holes per plant should be plenty. This is necessary to prevent water from sitting and rotting out the bottom of the crate. 
2. Add at least an inch of potting soil to the bottom of the crate/container. Take the plants out of their plastic containers and nestle them on top of the soil. Use some more potting soil around them until firmly packed with at least an inch of soil in every direction around the transferred seedling. You want to make sure each plant has enough space to spread its roots without getting too cramped.
3. When you're ready to harvest your herbs, trim them with a sharp knife or clippers near their base and enjoy!

Wild Winter Wreaths

Words by Jill Hammond, photos by me, wreath made together! (With plants selected by Jill.)

I have to start by identifying myself as a bit of a scrooge when it comes to Christmas decorations. I think holiday decor is generally the worst. While I find it all to be pretty gaudy, wasteful and flashy, wreaths are the one symbol of holiday cheer that I can stand by. You can forage most the materials and if you leave it up all year, nobody really notices or cares. They can be natural looking and wild, but still remind you that it’s winter and we’d all rather be inside.

Beautiful wreaths can be cheap and easy to make, which is how I like most things in life. I encourage you to forage or snatch branches when possible and supplement from a market or flower shop for anything else you may want. You’ll need to select dry plants, since most fresh flowers will shrivel up or change color dramatically once dried. Though you can use any greenery that isn’t too heavy, some of my favorites are bay laurel, eucalyptus, holly, fir, rosemary and lavender. 

Because there are no rules to wreathing, you can create a specific pattern for your wreath as you build it up, or you can free form it like I've done. If you are a perfectionist, making a pattern in your wreath's mini tiny bouquets could take quite a while to finish. Since I am not, I can whip through one of these wilderness wreaths in about thirty minutes. Once you get into a groove, it’s smooth and simple. The end result is basically a winter wonderland for your door—and might end up just tidy enough to still impress the neighbors. 

Materials — You can find all these materials (minus the greenery) at a craft store
Garden sheers
Greeasn floral wire
Wreath form
Two armfuls of greenry

How To
1. Start by assembling tiny bouquets (4-6 inches in length) and wrap them at their base with floral wire.
2. Attach your first mini bouquet to the wreath frame by wrapping it tightly at its base through and around the frame with floral wire.
3. Continue to make more petite bouquets (for a small wreath, you may make 20-30 bunches). Overlay and secure them one at a time a couple inches over the last bunch, going in the same direction.
4. As you make your way around, try to avoid leaving any empty chunks of the frame visible, since the branches will tend to slouch a little over time once the wreath is hung up.