Dig It! How to Make Wreaths
Sage & Snow Garden Club November Newsletter
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
November 10, 2007
One of the very enjoyable outside activities that you can engage in during this time of year is gathering natural products for centerpieces, wreaths, swags, and holiday tree and house decorations. Let your spirit be your guide in terms of items that you want for your decorations, but some ideas for natural elements include berries, fruits, rose hips, seed pods, gamebird feathers, dried or fresh flowers (including eucalyptus), herbs, cones, and evergreen branches (don't forget sagebrush!). There are numerous internet web sites, books, and magazine articles that you can consult for motivation and instructions. We hope to inspire you to keep getting outside and, perhaps, to make a wreath for the Museum of the Mountain Man wreath auction coming soon.
Besides being decorative, a wreath represents eternal life, maintenance of earthly life, and holiday spirit and tradition. In ancient Rome, people made wreaths from laurel or olive branches as a sign of victory, which many believe is how the practice of hanging a wreath on the front door came to be. Evergreen branches were said to symbolize an enduring strength and sense of immortality; during harsh winters in Europe, people gathered evergreen branches, made them into wreaths and lit fires as a sign of their hopes for warmer weather and the impending spring season.
Here are some tips for making a wreath:
• Some of the tools you might need are floral wire, floral pins, fishing line, wire cutters, scissors, floral tape, and a glue gun (be cautious using this tool as it can be habit forming).
• Use a base of wire, cardboard, wood, plastic-backed floral foam, woven tree prunings or twigs (such as grapevine or willow). These can be bought at floral or craft stores or you can make them, such as by bending a coat hanger to make your desired shape. If you are going to hang the decoration, add the wire hanger before you cover the form.
• Cover the inside edge of the base with plant material first, then the outside edge, and finally the front.
• Add flowers, foliage, pods, or cones by gluing or wiring them over the base. Fishing line can also be used. Add decorative ribbon, glitter, bows, etc.
• If you have vegetation that you want to preserve from drying out (indoors or outside) you can spritz them with water daily (this also enhances the fragrance of indoor wreaths), soak them in a floral preservative before you make the wreath (re-cut stem ends diagonally about an inch or two from the original cut and place the ends in hot water for a few minutes; then soak in warm water with a flower preservative for a few hours or overnight in a cool place). Spray the finished product with a commercial anti-desiccant to decrease evaporation (according to label directions, spray the antidesiccant on the front and back of the arrangement when all greens are in place and allow it to dry before proceeding). Does anyone have an anti-desiccant recipe? If so, please send it to the Garden Club and we will put it in the next article.
Herb wreaths of thyme, lavender, rosemary, sage, savory, bay, tarragon, parsley, chili peppers, mint or rose buds add color and fragrance to any room. Use floral tape and a glue gun to cover a shape made out of cardboard or twigs with cut herbs and flowers. Herbs with long stems can be wrapped around the cardboard. Leaves and short stemmed herbs can be glue gunned on the cardboard. Finish off the wreath by adding a ribbon.
Here are two wreaths from Sunset magazine (November 2003- "Easy and Elegant Wreaths":
1. Tie fishing line (approximately 3 ½ feet needed for entire wreath) around the top of the floral foam ring, knotting it and leaving the ends long for hanging.
2. Pour one packet of flower preservative into a water-filled tub, stir, then drop in a 15-inch plastic-backed floral foam ring. Soak for 1 hour. Remove and let drain briefly.
3. Keep carnation stems (may need up to 75 carnations) in water while you work, removing several at a time to add to the wreath. While holding stem tips under water, cut several stems to about 2 inches long. Starting on the inside of the foam ring, poke these shortened stems into the foam so the flower heads sit flat and petals touch. Continue around the inside, then cover the outside; do the front of the wreath last.
4. Hang wreath by fishing line. Add ribbon (about 2 yards) through the center of the wreath and to the top of the door frame or door knob.
5. Make the wreath last by keeping it in a cool room, such as an entryway, and spraying it with water daily. If you want to use the wreath as a centerpiece, you can keep it submerged in floral preservative.
Forest Cone Jewels
1. To make a hanger, wrap a 9-inch length of florist's wire around the top of an 18-inch wreath base; twist ends together. Loop a 3-inch length of wire through the 9-inch length; twist ends together.
2. Using the glue gun, affix cones (may need around 100), one at a time, around the inside of the wreath base. Alternate big cones with small ones, gluing some right side up, some upside down, and some on their sides. Repeat to cover the outside of the frame, then the front of the wreath. No preservative needed!
The Sage and Snow Garden Club meets at noon on the second Tuesday of each month in the Pinedale Library. Contact the Garden Club at firstname.lastname@example.org or Box 2280, Pinedale, WY 82941 or bring your gardening questions to our meeting.