Through the centuries, wreaths have been regarded as symbols of protection, love, friendship and welcome. Most are composed of a central core, although you can twist and weave stipple stems of foliage such as clematis or hops into wreaths that are decorative in their own right, or construct a simple wreath base from supple grass or other stems and then decorate it with flowers.
With the revival of interest in decorative rings, it is now possible to buy a wide variety of wreath bases from florists and department stores. Dried-stem rings, vine wreath forms and twisted willow rings can all be adorned with posies of fresh flowers and foliage, or with dried plant material for long-term display. Pre-formed rings of absorbent stem-holding foam encased in a plastic base provide fresh flowers with a moisture source and can be used throughout the year for wall hangings or table decorations. They are, however, unattractive to look at, so you must plan your decoration to include an all-concealing cover – a handful of ivy leaves or other foliage would be ideal.
HOW TO MAKE A FRESH FLOWER WREATH
- Gather up your materials: a pre-formed foam ring of 25 cm/10 in diameter, a selection of flowers such as sweet peas, roses, spray carnations, Peruvian lilies, and gypsophila, evergreen foliage such as ivy, and florist’s scissors. Arrange a ring of ivy leaves around the inside and outside of the ring form to frame the flowers. Cut each sweet-pea flower on a short stem and arrange at intervals around the ring.
- Complete the ring of sweet peas and arrange more ivy leaves between the flowers, to give the design a natural and ‘countrified’ look.
- Cut individual roses, Peruvian lilies and spray carnations and arrange them between the sweet peas. Insert short sprays of gypsophila around the ring.
- Use the floral circlet to decorate a tabletop, a low shelf or a buffet table, where it would make an unusual centrepiece.
HOW TO MAKE A POTPOURRI WREATH
- Gather up the materials you will need: a dried-stem ring of 20 cm/8 in diameter, about 115 g/402 potpourri, a hot-glue gun, dried flowers such as rosebuds and sea lavender, a roll of florist’s silver wire, half a stub wire (floral pin), satin ribbon and a pair of scissors.
- Spurt the glue on to the ring a little at a time, and press the potpourri on to it. Take care not to burn your fingers when using hot glue. Allow to cool for a few seconds before pressing on the petals.
- Work all around the ring, gluing and pressing on the petals until you have covered the form on top, both inside and outside. If there are any gaps, spurt on a little more glue and add more petals. Glue some of the most colourful petals on top to give the ring a bright appearance.
- Arrange the dried flowers to make a small posy. Cut short the stems and bind them with silver wire. Bend the stub wire in half to make a U-shape, loop it over the stems and press the ends of the wire into the ring to secure the posy.
- Tie the ribbon around the ring form, bringing the ends over the top, where they will cover the posy stems and binding wire. Tie the ribbon into a bow and then trim off the ends neatly.
IDEAS FOR FOAM RINGS
Outline a foam ring with periwinkle leaves, fill it with some short-stemmed daffodils, tulips and pansies, and then embellish it with a cluster of lighted tapers for an Easter table decoration. Cover a small ring with lady’s mantle and cornflowers, and then stud it with strawberries pierced with cocktail sticks (toothpicks) for a midsummer party piece. Or, define a large ring with ivy leaves, fill in with sweet peas, Peruvian lilies and roses, and cover it with delicate gypsophila.