Flower Garlands

Design your own wearable garden with a flower garland, a traditional symbol of welcome and celebration.

| June 2018

The following text has been excerpted from Foraged Art: Creating Projects Using Blooms, Branches, Leaves, Stones, and Other Elements Discovered in Nature by Peter Cole and Leslie Jonath, (BlueStreak, 2018). Art, meditation, and nature meet in this adult focused activity book, with projects that take inspiration from the natural environment, using blooms, pods, branches, stones, and other natural elements

Traditionally, Flower Garlands are used to festoon places and people, lending their bright colors to welcomes and celebrations. In Hawaii, men and women both wear leis of orchid and plumeria blooms. In India, strings of yellow and orange marigolds greet guests at weddings. In the United States, children have made “daisy chains” for generations, creating necklaces, bracelets, and tiaras from wildflowers.

You can create garlands from many kinds of flowers. Each kind will move differently when chained together, but all will twist and turn, making your creations flexible enough to wrap, hang, and flow from wherever they’re displayed. Use garlands to decorate spaces, indoors and out, or wear them to celebrate the seasons. You can also bring a bit of the unexpected to the landscape by laying garlands on the tops of fences, wrapping them around tree trunks, or embedding them in sidewalk cracks.

Wear your garland to brighten your day, or find an unexpected place to display it, such as a tree branch, sidewalk, or pile of leaves. 

Tools and Techniques

  • For this project, you’ll need a large embroidery needle, a spool of thin thread, and scissors.
  • As you work, handle the flowers as gently as possible to minimize bruising and tearing.
  • A farmers’ market is a great place to buy fresh local flowers in abundance.

Field Guide

  1. Gather: Collect or buy flowers with sturdy heads, such as daisies, zinnias, carnations, or roses. Make sure they’re in good condition before you start working with them.
  2. Compose: Choose flowers in similar sizes and colors for visual impact, or vary flowers to create a joyful riot of color.
  3. Create: To string a daisy garland, thread the needle, pierce the daisy head in the center of the flower, and then pull the needle through. Continue stringing the daisies until you have a thick rope of flowers to wear or drape. To string a zinnia garland, thread the needle and pierce the zinnia horizontally through the base of the flower, so the head faces you. Continue to string the zinnias until you have a chain of flowers. Knot the ends together to make your finished garland.
  4. Leave No Trace: When the blooms in your garland begin to wither and die, clip the knot in the string, pull off the faded flowers, and leave them in a place where they can easily return to nature. Then just throw the string away.

More from Foraged Art:

This text has been excerpted from Foraged Art: Creating Projects Using Blooms, Branches, Leaves, Stones, and Other Elements Discovered in Nature by Peter Cole and Leslie Jonath, (BlueStreak, 2018).

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