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A heart of herbs.

A living valentine, made with herb cuttings, can be a striking gift or February decoration. Ours features sweet woodruff tucked into a wire frame filled with sphagnum moss. The plant's compact leaves are showy and small, giving the heart a lacy effect. If you don't have sweet woodruff in your garden, experiment with rosemary, winter savory, or thyme. Materials. To shape the frame, you need a heart-sbaped cardboard template, a felt-tip pen, two squares of aviary wire an inch larger all around than the template, wire cutters, 9- and 22-gauge wire, and sphagnum moss. For the low-growing sweet woodruff or thyme, harvest stems, each 'about 2 1/2 inches long, with roots attached. For rosemary or winter savory, take same-length tip cuttings, stripping off lower leaves; stems should root in the moistened moss. Creating the frame. Using the pen and template, trace a heart onto each wire square; cut out hearts. Next, bend a piece of 9-gauge wire to form a slightly smaller heart; wrap ends of wire together at top center with 22-gauge wire. Wrap outer edges of mesh heart around wire heart. Repeat for second heart. To fill the frame, sandwich a dense I -inch layer of moistened moss between the hearts; connect sides with 22-gauge wire. Adding and maintaining the greenery. You can add cuttings to one or both sides of the frame, following instructions with photograph below. Hang hearts planted on one side on doors or use as centerpieces. Suspend hearts planted on both sides for viewing from all directions. Keep hearts moist; spray or set in a container of water (see above left). Display in shade and feed every two weeks with half-strength liquid fertilizer. Valentine can last up to three months. Trim, if needed. Design was by Norma Jean Lathrop of Glendora, California.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Feb 1, 1991
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