Monday, June 6, 2011

How to Make a Living Wreath

 Here's what you need
A wire wreath form, available in the floral section at Michaels or the Hob Lob
Sheet Moss, I used 4 packages
Floral wire on the spool or paddle
potting soil
six pack annuals, enough to fill your wreath form
I used impatients and a wreath form specifically made for this purpose
I used the instant green moss, kind of a plastic backed faux moss for the bottom of the wreath.  I cut the moss into strips to fit the bottom of the wreath.  Then I used the regular Super Moss to line the sides of the wreath form as pictured.
The point is to line the wreath with moss to keep the soil from coming out.
My form was purchased at a nursery 10 years or so ago.  The regular floral wire wreaths will make a smaller but still beautiful wreath. You will have to keep it watered more often, for it will hold less soil, and will dry out faster.

 I added the vinyl covered wire mesh.  I think it originally had a coir type liner, but I like the moss better.
 My form also has a snap on cover, which isn't really needed in this method.
 Cutting and laying the strips into the wreath form.  Remember the moss side goes to the outside.
 Since a regular wreath form is not as deep as this, you will need less moss, but you may have to do more wire wrapping to keep the soil contained
Here I'm filling in the sides with additional moss to go over the edge of the sides.  Later, you will wrap the moss up and over the exposed soil.
 Fill the space in the wreath generously with potting soil, and plant your annuals close together into the soil.
 Plant one at a time till the wreath is completely planted. You can trim the roots if your form isn't as deep as mine.  I just tore the roots apart a little to promote root growth as I planted.
 Like so...
 Attach the floral wire to the wire form, start folding the moss over the exposed soil and wrap the wire completely around the form to secure the plants into the wreath. Be careful not to trap any stems as you wrap all the way around, you don't want any strangled branches.  Secure wire back at the starting point.
I always complete the wreath and soak in a container of water for several minutes. I use potting soil with a fertilizer already in it, but now would be a good time for a watering with Miracle Grow if you don't.   A trash can lid fit the wreath perfectly, but you can water from the top too.  The lid is also a great way to revive a wreath that might not get enough water and start to droop. This is not a care free kind of garden you make and can forget.  Since there really is no container but the moss to hold the soil, it dries out quickly.  Like I said, a soak in a water bath will revive all but the deadest of plants.  Impatients are forgiving, as are succulents.  I'd like to do one with herbs, especially rosemary and lavender that tolerate a little neglect, and enjoy dry roots occasionally.
I let the wreath lay flat on one of my benches on the deck, out of direct sunshine.  Then for a special occasion, or when guests come, I hang it up. It's spectacular on the front door and really says a summer WELCOME!
One other piece of advice, this is an outdoor project,  it will get messy and is very heavy after watering.  All in all, well worth the effort.

I'll try to remember to take a picture periodically so you can see it's progress.  
I'd love to know if you're inspired to make a living wreath of your own.

Enjoy this beautiful day.


Lynne said...

I love the living wreath Penny. Have you made one with succulents? A bit more pricey to make I would think??? I have plenty of outdoor space to work in although right now being outdoors is quite the challenge what with the many varieties of BUGS out in full force.

I think I need to go on a mission to find a large wreath form and the collection of supplies.

Thank you for the pictorial . . .
Love, Lynne

Anonymous said...

I have a very similar wreath form. How many 6 packs did you end up using? It looks so pretty!