Finishing our Heirloom Recipe Box

In the last post, we discussed the first half of creating an heirloom seed box to be tucked into a gorgeous pot or given as a gift on its own.  I have chosen the theme of an herb garden, and decorated the fronts of my recipe cards with a detailed drawn picture of each herb.  Again you can use photographs or even pressed flowers if you like, I just like the hand drawn look as it is more personal and this is for a dear friend.  If you would like to use a pressed plant, you need only dab a small bit of clear drying glue to fix it in place, we will protect it at the end by covering the recipe cards with contact paper or laminating them, so they will last for a very long time.

Here are two examples of my cards:

These are the fronts of my Rosemary and Lemon Verbana cards.  When I have laminated them I will attach a small envelope to the Rosemary card with seeds (the verbana grows well with cuttings so I will have to make a separate gift of that).  The detail you put on the drawings is of course, up to you.  I’ve tried to detail what the flowers look like, what the leaves and roots should be like, because I am primarily interested in these being a reference tool.  I wanted my friend to know what a healthy plant should look like, a. because I am a terrible one for weeding, I never know which plant to pull, so I feel like a visual would help other people with similar problems and b. if the plant were not healthy, it’s differing appearance could tell a gardener right away.

On the back should be several short bits of information. 

  • When to plant (whether its a month or as soon as the ground thaws, after the last frost)
  • How deep to plant seeds, spacing of seeds or seedlings and soil makeup (for example, rosemary likes soil with more alkaline properties)
  • How much sun and when to water
  • I included a bit of history or trivia on each card, such as what folklore says about the plant or how it has been used in other times and places
  • Uses (besides being pretty!) and which parts of the plant to use (for instance, lemon verbana’s leaves can be used as a substitute for citrus peel in baking)

Here is a photo of the back of my rosemary card, I also added tiny drawings to decorate the card (scrapbooking elements, tiny pressed flowers or petals, or stickers would be beautiful too).

Add as much information as you can find, you never know what’s going to be useful (in the sowing, growing or harvesting!).  When you are through, simply laminate or encase in clear contact paper.  Tuck the cards into your box, and be sure to leave some blank cards and a little growing room so your friend (or yourself) can add to it down the road.  Make sure to let your friend know to store this box in a cool, dry place to prevent germination of any seeds that are enclosed (the outdoor gardening shed would be perfect).  Once you and several of your friends have these “recipe” boxes, you can trade both seeds, cuttings and recipe cards from your own gardens.  This would make for a very special gift, ensuring long exchanges and friendships.

Have you got any suggestions on making this recipe box more special?  Or how to incorporate cuttings?  Have you got any nice ideas for tucking into gardening pots to be given as gifts?

Please send us photos of your recipe boxes, we’d love to see all the creative ideas and artistic plant drawings out there!

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