2009-12-25 / Beauty in the Backyard

Wreaths from the Garden

Stopping to smell the flowers
By Arlene Marturano marturanoa@yahoo.com

Gardeners celebrate the beauty and bounty of plants year–round with wreaths for the wall, table, or door. In winter, plants provide decorative evergreen leaves, berries, pods, seed heads, nuts, bark, and cones for making wreaths.

Very little purchased material is needed to make a garden wreath. Even the wreath base can be made from vines or twigs found within steps from your door. Grape, honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, wisteria, and kudzu vines await your coiling skills. Soaking the vines in lukewarm water makes them pliable for shaping.

At a recent wreath making workshop at the Carolina Children’s Garden on the Clemson University Sandhill Research and Education Center, Chanda Cooper, garden nature educator, assisted families in creating grapevine wreaths with a smorgasbord of natural attachments including magnolia leaves and pods, holly leaves and berries, pyracantha boughs with berries, acorn caps, sweet gum balls, bullrush seedheads, pine cones, lotus pods, cotton bolls, and Spanish moss. Each wreath will be as distinctive as the materials available and the imagination and ingenuity of the creator.

Proud wreathmaker Proud wreathmaker Some individuals select a specific theme for their wreath’s attachments, e.g. culinary, fragrant, or leafy green. Ivy, holly, and magnolia leaves are well suited for a leafy green wreath. Rosemary wreaths are both culinary and fragrant.

Most plant parts can be tucked within the coils of the vine base. However, a few tools exist to hold attachments in place: floral tape, floral picks, floral pins, floral wire, and a glue gun.

As family and friends visit for the holidays engage them in making a wreath from your garden to take home to theirs. Homemade garden wreaths make interior and exterior home decorations, ornaments for special occasions, and great gifts in any season.
Grapevine wreath bases are easy to find and to fashion into any shape. Grapevine wreath bases are easy to find and to fashion into any shape.
Magnolia leaves and pyracantha berries work well together in the garden and on a wreath. Magnolia leaves and pyracantha berries work well together in the garden and on a wreath.
Natural materials are favored over store bought ones. Natural materials are favored over store bought ones.
This family selected Spanish moss and magnolia seed pods as the main features on their wreath. This family selected Spanish moss and magnolia seed pods as the main features on their wreath.
Making a wreath involves the hands of all family members. Making a wreath involves the hands of all family members.
Siblings each make their own wreath. Siblings each make their own wreath.
Chanda Cooper, garden educator, and young wreathmaker at the Carolina Children’s Garden wreathmaking workshop. Chanda Cooper, garden educator, and young wreathmaker at the Carolina Children’s Garden wreathmaking workshop.

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