Making a Living Wreath

Discussion in 'Hobbies and Crafts' started by Jewell, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    I have always wanted a living wreath, but they have been cost prohibitive. I have seen simple small skimpy ones start at $40 and some full fat big ones going into the $300 range. This last week I decided if the lady at the local farmers market could make and sell them I should be able to mimic hers so I gave it a try. My first attempts were not exactly what I wanted, but I persevered.

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    first attempt at making a living wreath ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    I did some Internet research and combined a variety of sources to come up with the following strategies to make what I consider the best, cheapest and easiest method to make a living wreath. It cost less than $10. Some wreaths have lasted for decades with proper management. I hope mine will too.

    The look of your living wreath will depend on the "moss" you choose and the plants. With the method I describe you are only using plant cuttings. If you do buy plants you will still have your parent plants to grow and provide a resource for future materials. I found that asking friends for snippets off their sedums has gained me several different varieties. Many people don't even realize the sedums growing around their yards aren't weeds. Suddenly I see sedums everywhere.

    Remember the rule of three when picking out plants for your wreath. This can be done with all one color and different textures. It can also be done with different colors. You may want to go with a single plant or color scheme. Remember this is your living work of art and you know what you like.

    I have chosen to use sedums because they root easily, are drought tolerant and tough little guys. I have seen pictures of living wreaths made from cactus, and herbs. Both have different needs and might be suitable for different climates, and placements in the yard/home. You can be creative! Vary what you learn here to fit your needs/wants.

    Making the Living Wreath

    Length of time to make: approximately 2 hours
    Supply list:
    Potting soil
    Sedum cuttings of choice
    Panty hose (1 leg per wreath)
    Dibble (sharpened stick or pencil)
    Scissors
    Metal wreath frame (get the inexpensive $2.50 or $3 ones)
    Moss (sphagnum-moss, Spanish moss) or other fibrous material that could be wrapped
    Clear filament fishing line
    Bucket of water

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    Materials: cuttings and potting soil ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

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    Materials: panty hose leg, scissors, dibble, fishing line filament, metal wreath ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

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    Materials: moss and water bucket ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    Hanger optional:Coat hanger (for hanger)
    Wire cutters (for cutting and bending coat hanger)

    Gather up your materials
    1. Cuttings should be taken prior to making the wreath.
    2. Soak moss prior to starting.
    3. Fill leg of panty hose with moistened potting soil a length to fit into the metal wreath frame
    4. Fit panty hose into wreath form making sure it is evenly filled to fit entire circumference of metal frame. Set aside.

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    prepared soil filled panty hose ring ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    5. Lay moss onto the metal frame giving enough moss to later wrap around the filled stocking. It is best to start in one place and work you way around. It will make it easier when later wrapping the potting soil filled panty hose.

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    beginning to cover wreath form with moss ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

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    metal wreath covered with moss ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    6. Lay the soil filled panty hose onto the moss covered frame. Cut the panty hose leg long so that you can tuck the extra length of panty hose onto the opposite end making a continuous ring.

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    panty hose leg filled with soil and ends connected to form soil ring ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    7. Start folding the moss around the potting soil ring. Fill in with moss if there are any bare spots where the dirt ring shows.

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    folding and adding moss to cover potting soil filled panty hose ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

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    completed moss covered form ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    8. Take the clear fishing line filament and cut long lengths that wrap once around the moss covered stocking from the inside of the ring to the outside. Tie a double/triple knot and continue with single piece of fishing line tying a piece ever inch until the entire wreath has a piece of fishing line holding the moss in place. I found it is best to leave the long ends until you are completely finished tying all of the moss onto the frame because the fishing line disappears.

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    fishing line fillaments with multiple knots on each piece ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    9. Clip the ends of the fishing line.

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    moss wreath ready and fishing line filaments trimmed ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    10. Use your dibble and poke a hole through the moss into the potting mixture. You can use your finger to open the hole more and then place the cutting into the hole. I found two to three inch cuttings work well. I work the wreath in thirds doing one plant type at a time.

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    prepared cuttings ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

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    reading to start inserting cuttings ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

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    using dibble to insert cuttings into moss covered wreath ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    11. As you work you may find places where the moss isn't covering the potting soil stocking or the moss is loose. This is the time to add moss and tie more filament pieces making the moss covered wreath structure uniform and stable.
    12. Continue adding plants, moss and ties until the entire wreath is uniformly covered. Remember your plants will be later growing and completely covering the moss covered wreath.

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    using "rule of 3" to start filling moss covered wreath ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    Making the hanger:1. I cut a long straight piece from a coat hanger and bend one end looping it into the wreath frame. My frame had slight bends that made this easier.

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    clothes hanger for hanging wreath-first cut ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    2. Pinch the loop closed attaching it to the wreath frame.
    3. Hold your coat hanger wire out to judge the proper length. Remember too long can be fixed, too short can't. Cut and bend the wire to attach to the frame. Once the hanger is attached it is now time to let the living wreath rest.

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    bending hanger wire ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

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    placing and attaching hanger ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

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    hanger ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

    Letting your living wreath rest:
    It is important to let your wreath rest and grow roots in the potting medium. Let it lie flat for three to four weeks. Water occasionally if it dries out. Your familiarity with sedums will help you know when and how much to water.

    Enjoying your living wreath:
    Your wreath can be hung on a garden wall, used as a center piece on the picnic table and enjoyed year round. Dressing the wreath up with a seasonal bow or decorations can make it fit the holidays.

    Maintenance:
    When the wreath becomes dehydrated you can soak it in the bird bath, and give it a gentle spray occasionally between soaks. Depending on the varieties of sedums used you may need to trim or replace (hens and chicks dies if allowed to bloom). Remember that the nature of the planting material and their needs will determine how you maintain your wreath.

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    Sedum wreath resting (red and variegated foliage) ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

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    Sedum wreath in blue green hues ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

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    Wreath hanging and finished ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )
     
    Frank and Zinnia like this.
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  3. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Really great instructions, Jewell. And a lovely wreath in the end.
    Thanks for posting all of this, I have been wondering how a living wreath would stay living for very long without soil and/or water.
     
  4. Frank

    Frank GardenStew Founder Staff Member Administrator

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    Wow great post Jewell. The end product looks fantastic. I hope your post motivates others to do this also!
     
  5. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    Thanks Frank, it was actually fun and easy to do (both write it up and make the wreath) after finally figuring out how.
     



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  6. blondcat

    blondcat New Seed

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    wow, it looks awesome Jewell, you make it sound so simple.
     
  7. kuntrygal

    kuntrygal Texas Rose

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    Such great instructions (you must have been a teacher!!) and the wreath is absolutely beautiful.
     
  8. gardengater

    gardengater Young Pine

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    This a wonderful presentation, Jewell! I hope you keep us up on the development of your wreath. It should be a beauty.
     
  9. stratsmom

    stratsmom Flower Fanatic

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    WOWIE ZOWIE!! :eek: That is amazing!!! What a wonderful gift idea! I bought one planted with pansys for my friend Tamie's birthday last year. I paid $50 and it did not last very long at all. I was VERY disappointed! :rolleyes: I really want to try that, I already have the ring and panty hose. Where did you find the moss? Is it in sheets or loose?
     
  10. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    Thanks Blondcat - this really is a simple way to make the wreath (unlike the first couple I tried to make).
    Countrygal - I still am a teacher, special education. Hope I didn't get too specific :rolleyes: . Gardenator I will try and post follow-up pics. I am interested in how they do myself.
    Stratsmom I pull it out of lawn/yard :D . To do two I needed more and the local nursey has it loose in big bags, about $10. The loose cheap stuff, not the fancy stuff they are selling now also. ;) (Although the fancy stuff might make a really nice all moss wreath for Christmas/winter. Saw one on the Martha Stewart website that was done in the fancy moss)
     
  11. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    Great instructions. I may just have to give this a try one day.
     
  12. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    A fantastic posting, Jewell. I quite like your results too. That wreath will last a good, long while won't it?
     
  13. nicolettedesign

    nicolettedesign New Seed

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    Any tips for taking care of it? Like watering, or taking it in for a certain weather conditions.
     
  14. kuntrygal

    kuntrygal Texas Rose

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    Are you kidding. I think most people prefer specific instructions. My DIL is a retired teacher, and I enjoy her writings. :stew2:
     
  15. daisybeans

    daisybeans Hardy Maple

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    WONDERful post. I put it in my Favorites until I have a little extra time. I have admired many a living wreath. Love the tip about soaking it in the bird bath!
     
  16. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    Me like very much! :D Wonderful post, Jewell. We've got plenty of different moss around here, and sedums too. This could be a nice gift for my sisters-in-law.
     

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