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Recipe of the Week

Detail of Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

A great dish for dessert or breakfast, these filled crepes are quick and easy to make, full of wonderful flavor, and make any occasion special.

Flower Arrangement of the Month - July - Living Herb Topiary

by Wen Zientek-Sico

This lively topiary created from some of my favorite flowering herbs is dramatic and impressive. Surprisingly easy to create and wonderful for entranceways, fireplaces, and other dramatic areas, it makes an arrangement no one can ignore.

Living Herb TopiaryLiving Herb Topiary Photo

A favorite combination of flowers pulled straight from my herb garden, this living topiary is stunning and dramatic. The combination of textures, colors, and sheer size make this a wonderful arrangement for a side table, console, hearth, or other area where you want to attract attention. Too tall for a centerpiece as a topiary, this combination of flowers can be used for a smaller arrangement with excellent results. These flowers were gathered from my herb garden, but they can typically be found at floral markets and farmer's markets. Both plants grow vigorously in many areas (this arrangement didn't even make a dent in my garden) and are easy to start from seed or nursery plant. For a different color scheme, consider using pink or white yarrow and pink bee balm. The container we used was a find from a local flea market and is actually the bottom of a copper flour canister, but any large pot, even a plain terracotta one, works well for this arrangement. Just make sure it is large enough to provide stability to this very heavy arrangement.

20 stems red bee balm (bergamot), cut as long as possible
50 stems yellow yarrow, cut as long as possible
6 rubber bands
Large copper pot
Floral foam
Five 12-inch pieces of 3/4 inch wide red satin ribbon
30 sprigs of lavender or assorted herb leaves

Take the bee balm and cluster them together in your hands to form a tight bouquet. Arrange the stems so that all of the heads are about the same height, with a slight crowning in the center. Taking a few at a time, arrange the yarrow around the bee balm at a slightly lower height until you have all the yarrow and bee balm in one cluster. If you have very small hands, you might need an extra pair of hands, or else a tall narrow container to help you form the arrangement. Once you have the flowers arranged to your taste, bundle them together with a rubber band placed about 3-4 inches below the yarrow. Add the other five rubber bands, spacing them evenly along the combined stems. Find the shortest stem, and trim all of the stems to be even with that shortest one to make sure the flowers will all get adequate water. Cut a block of floral foam to fit the bottom of the pot, but make it no taller than four inches. Push the stems into the floral foam, and then cut the rest of the floral foam into smaller blocks to hold the stems in place. Tie a length of ribbon into a tight bow around each rubber band to hide the band. Add water to the arrangement, and cover the floral foam with leaves or the sprigs of lavender. Store in a cool place and this arrangement should last at least a week.

Learn more about the Floral Arrangement of the Month and look at other floral arrangements.

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