Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Western Mountains and High Plains
November, 2005
Regional Report

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Create a grapevine wreath with any combination of permanent materials, natural dried materials, and fruits and berries.

Crafting and Decorating with Natural Materials from the Garden

Take a walk through the woods or your own backyard and you'll find lots of interesting materials to craft holiday decorations for your home. One of my favorite projects is to make wreaths from the prunings of grapevines. If you don't have grapevines, use willows or other flexible woody stems.

Time to journey to the woods or the garden and collect nature's wonderful plant materials and dream up a theme for the wreath. You may want to focus on fall decorations, or plan ahead to create something for a winter theme.

With double-strength paper sack in hand, cut interesting seedpods, grasses, berry branches, acorns, and dried flowers that are indigenous to your area or garden. From the vegetable garden collect and dry gourds and mini-pumpkins and lacquer them to preserve their colors. You also can find many dried and artificial items (not my favorite) at a local craft store. The objective is to arrange these materials on the wreath, striving for a nice decorating theme with balance and contrast.

Putting It All Together
Gather some basic tools to help you complete this project; these should include scissors, pruning shears, florist wire, ired florist's picks, strands of raffia, and a hot glue gun.

Start by using flexible wire to form an 18-inch ring. To this you will intertwine the grapevine cuttings in several layers to camouflage the wire. I like to leave some of the vines hanging out to create a natural and fuller effect. If needed, secure the vines in position with florist wire. Once you have the basic wreath completed to your liking, cut a piece of wire to make a hanging loop on the back of the wreath to mark the top.

Trim the stems of drying berries and leaves to lengths that you can insert into the wreath. Place sections of berries along the front and sides of the wreath.

Ornamental grass heads are fragile and should be fastened to wired florist picks. This will make them easier to insert into the wreath. Grasses are ideal to fill in the empty spaces and add some wavy accent. Pieces of interesting branches with insect galls, mummified mushrooms, branches with Spanish moss, and other unusual items will add interest. Place these accents into the grapevine wreath in a harmonious pattern.

If you like colorful fabric strips, cut some with pinking shears and add them to the wreath to complement the color scheme in your home. Just tie them to the cuttings as you would a ribbon.

Be creative; there are so many wonderful natural items to be found in autumn. And collecting them gives you a good excuse to talk a walk through the garden and woods.

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