Saturday, September 29, 2012
Friday, September 28, 2012
Take a gathering basket and a scissors or shears with you the next time you stroll through your garden. These comfortable days of fall provide a perfect opportunity to gather herbs, seed heads, branches and grasses to make into a beautiful harvest wreath with all materials coming from your garden.. Basil, lemon balm and catmint are good herbs for this, but whatever has perked up again after our heat wave will probably work just fine. Annual and perennial flower and seed heads can be included as well as ornamental grasses. Try to gather a variety of 6-7 different things that look good together. Gather your harvest into small bunches and secure with a rubber band or cord. Hang the bunches upside down on nails in the rafters of your basement or garage and allow them to dry for a week.
Meanwhile, prepare the base for your wreath. Venture out to your garden once again, this time looking for vining material. Morning glory and fall-blooming clematis vines are perfect for this, even if they have been hit by frost. Grape vines work well too. Form the vines into a loose circular shape about 18 inches in diameter with a hole in the center.
Reshape a common wire coat hanger into a circle. The hanger hook will serve nicely as the hanger for the finished wreath. Lay the wire circle on top of the vine ring. Attach the end of a spool of green florist’s wire, leaving about 5 inches of wire hanging out on the end. Let the wreath base dry on your work surface until you are ready to assemble your wreath.
When the plant material has dried you can put your
wreath together. Remove the rubber bands from
the bunches of your collected materials. Divide
the first material into 11 piles on your work
surface. Repeat this process with each plant
material until you have 11 little bouquets.
Keeping the bunches the same is key to making
your wreath look good.
Lay the first bunch over the spot on your wreath frame where you attached the wire. Spread out the bunch like a fan over the wreath frame Wire the bunch, wrapping around the frame four to five times.Repeat this process, overlapping the wired portion of each bunch with the fanned out end of the next bunch. When you reach the last bunch, fan out the last bunch and insert into the space. Wire it onto the base, being careful not to crush the first bunch. You can twist the first bunch out of the way while you do this and then move it back into place once you’ve finished. Find the end of wire you left sticking out at the starting point and twist together with the end of the wire from the last bunch. Trim the wire and gently lay the wreath upside down on your work surface. Reshape the base frame into a circle and turn the wreath over. Fluff the wreath by gently rearranging anything that is out of place. Make sure the inside has a continuous circular flow. You can add a finishing focal point such as a simple bow, and you are ready to hang your wreath.
This wreath is better used indoors where it will last indefinitely. You can use it on your front door for Thanksgiving but it will last just a short time due to the weather and the elements.
Thunbergia is a controlled, midsized annual vine easily started from seeds. The original form is bright yellow with a dark brown eye thus it's common name, Black-eyed Susan vine. This version is called "Blushing Susie". It is my favorite for adding "thriller" height on a trellis or spill interest to container planintgs. Try it next year...and it is tolerant of heat and drought!