Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Making a Lavender Wreath
I guess you've heard...the summer of 2011 will go down in history as one of the hottest on record for the state of Oklahoma. Despite that, the sweet little lavender plants here at Turkey Creek Lavender have rallied for a repeat September bloom. Thanks in part, I'm sure, to the installation of the drip irrigation in June.
It's a different type of blooming. Not nearly as many stalks, and not all over the plants. More random. And the colors seem a little more subdued. The stalks are short and the leaves extend further up towards the head. But it's enough to make wreath or two.
I've tried several different methods for making wreaths, and this is the one that works best for me. (Probably because I'm all thumbs, and not a very talented wreath maker!) But it also allows me to use the shorter stalks and prepare little bundles ahead of time until I have enough. I just keep them in the refrigerator in water until I'm ready to put the wreath together.
For this project you will need a wreath base. Here I used a grapevine wreath. (I have used a straw wreath wrapped with strips of burlap, and a wire wreath form covered with sheet moss. Both are pretty but the grapevine is the easiest.) You will also need a paddle of floral wire to wire everything together. And, of course, fresh lavender, because it's so much easier to work with when it's pliable. (Some companies use dried lavender but I find it way too brittle and I lose most of the buds in the process.)
Begin by wiring your lavender into little bundles.
Next, attach your wire to the wreath by looping it around a piece of grapevine and twisting it until it's securely attached.
Starting on the outside of the wreath, lay a bundle against the grapevine and wrap the wire around the stems several times.
Next, lay a bundle beside the first, and wrap the wire several times. Follow with a third bundle until you have worked your way across the wreath. Then just repeat the process as you work your way around the wreath, covering the stems of each previous row as you go.
When you get to the end you will probably have to work a bundle under the very first bundle you wired on to finish it off. This wreath was made with several varieties of lavender since I didn't have enough of just one color blooming.
After the wreath dried, this is what it looked like. It could stand to be trimmed up a little so it doesn't look quite so shaggy. In this wreath there is some dark lavender, some light, some grey. If you have sage, bay leaves, thyme, or other herbs or flowers that dry well you could also make a beautiful mixed wreath. Even wheat looks good worked into a lavender wreath.
This wreath is not quite as full and is made with all fat spike grosso. It dries more of a lavender-grey color.
Dried lavender wreaths last for a very long time. You can extend their life by spraying with dried flower fixative, or hair spray. Hang them in a protected area, preferably inside. They will fade in direct sunlight. You can hang them directly on a nail, or add a beautiful bow, as we did here.
Just be patient when making a lavender wreath. The first time I tried making a lavender wreath several years ago I tried way too hard to get it perfect. I repeatedly took it apart and started over. I do get better each time I make one. The great thing is they're all beautiful once they dry!