Mother Earth Living

A Wreath That Shakespeare Wrote

How to make an everlasting dried flower and herb wreath.
By Jim and Dotti Becker
April/May 1995
Add to My MSN


Content Tools

Related Content

DIY: Drying Fresh Herbs

Enjoy your herbs throughout the winter months with these different drying techniques.

Resources: When and How to Preserve Food

Here’s a roundup of great tips and resources for planning all your food preservation duties in advan...

Back on the Search for Local Flowers

Jessica begins anew the hunt for eco-friendly, local wedding flowers.

Guide to Eating Flowers

Edible flowers are found in restaurants from coast to coast, featured in magazines and included in c...

The plants that play a role in Shakespeare’s works include a number of herbs and flowers that dry easily and retain their color and shape: bay laurel, lavender, marjoram, oregano, poppy, rose, rue, sea holly, and wormwood. We’ve devised this elegant small wreath of everlastings as a fitting tribute to the Bard’s mastery of garden imagery. You may wish to make one for a favorite English literature teacher, an aspiring actor, or a friend who loves Shakespeare. You can pick and dry materials from your own garden or purchase them from a craft store.

Materials

  • About 15 freshly cut wormwood stems, each 20 inches long
  • Brown floral tape, available in craft or florist supply stores
  • Brown floral wire in two sizes: 20 and 24 gauge
  • Craft scissors
  • Assorted dried herbs and flowers: bay laurel, lavender, marjoram, oregano, poppy, rose, sea holly, and/or rue

Our Shakespearean wreath is made from a base of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Other artemisias, such as Silver King (A. ludoviciana cv.) and mugwort (A. vulgaris), would work as well, but wormwood is the only artemisia Shakespeare mentions specifically. For the wreath base, it is important to use fresh materials because dried wormwood becomes too brittle to bend. If you harvest the wormwood in late summer or early autumn, you’ll have its tiny flowers as a bonus.

The wreath base is 1 1/2 inches thick and forms a circle 5 inches in diameter. For a different-size wreath, you would start with stems that are about four times longer than the desired diameter of the wreath.

Bend a wormwood stem into a circle, with the tip end overlapping the butt end by 6 to 8 inches (Figure 1). Wrap the overlapping tip around the butt end in a spiral to secure it, then spiral a second stem completely around the circular form of the first one. Don’t be concerned if the butts protrude at this stage. Continue wrapping wormwood stems, one at a time, around the circular base until your wreath is as thick as you like (Figure 2). As you add new stems, adjust the shape so that it remains symmetrical. For instance, if one section of the wreath base looks a little thinner than the rest, wrap a wormwood stem around that section only. Leave the tips of the last few stems projecting outward to give your wreath a graceful sweeping shape. Finish the wreath base by trimming off the protruding butts. Figure 3 shows the finished base. Let it dry for several days before continuing. You can add the dried herbs and flowers at any time after that.

When you are ready to decorate your wreath base, assemble a selection of dried herbs and flowers.

The first step is to attach the flowers and sprigs of herbs to false stems of floral wire with the floral tape. Wrap a single large flower, such as a rose, onto a false stem by itself; wrap small bunches of small flowers (of the same type or of different types) onto a single false stem and treat each bunch as a single unit. Use the thicker floral wire to make stems for large flowers or bunches of flowers, and the thinner wire for smaller flowers.

Cut a piece of floral wire about 6 inches long—long enough to pass through the body of the wreath base and leave you a tail to work with. Choose a flower—a single rose or poppy are easy ones to start with—and align the wire so that it overlaps the bottom inch or two of the stem. Position the end of the floral tape at a slight downward angle just above the point at which the flower stem overlaps the floral wire. Next (this takes some practice), twirl the stem between your thumb and forefinger while feeding the tape from the spool in a tight spiral down over the stem (Figure 4). Stretch the tape as you wrap so that it will adhere smoothly. End the wrap and cut it off 1/4 to 1/2 inch below the end of the flower stem.

Because wreaths are circular, some symmetry of form and color is desirable; however, a wreath in which a pattern of flowers continues unvaryingly can look contrived and uninteresting. A wormwood wreath base is intrinsically decorative and does not need to be covered completely with flowers. In this wreath, we left most of the wreath base exposed and clustered the dried flowers along the tips of the wormwood stems that we left projecting outward.

Poke the wired flower stems through the wreath backing, and twist their ends around the thicker twined stems. Take care that the wires are not visible from the front or sides of the wreath. Continue inserting wired single flowers and bunches until you have an arrangement that pleases you.

Dried-flower wreaths will last for at least three or four years with proper care. Although all natural colors will fade slowly, they will last much longer if you keep them out of direct sunlight and away from direct moisture or high humidity, which will also cause some flowers to droop. To remove dust from your wreath, treat it to light, periodic blowings from a hair dryer set on cool. You can extend the life of a favorite wreath design by replacing the most faded dried flowers with a few newer, brighter ones.


Previous | 1 | 2 | Next






Post a comment below.

 


MY COMMUNITY
no image
valerykenery
8/29/2014 12:04:10 AM
no image
HarvestRight
8/21/2014 5:22:39 PM
no image
NatureHillsNursery
8/20/2014 10:03:07 AM
no image
NatureHillsNursery
8/20/2014 9:59:22 AM
no image
NatureHillsNursery
8/20/2014 9:30:07 AM
no image
melisastarr
8/19/2014 12:57:22 PM
no image
Peggy McMahan
8/18/2014 11:29:51 AM






Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.