By Maria Price
I must be a long descendant of hunter-gatherers, since every time there’s a chill in the air thanks to the changing seasons, I go out in my garden and have this incredible urge to gather whatever I can for the coming season. Be it food, herbs, decorative pods, or flowers to dry. It comes into my home to be bundled and hung, or cooked and frozen for the future. I also try to extend the season in the garden with late-blooming perennials, especially native plants that will provide nectar, pollen, and seeds for wildlife.
Along with this urge to gather, comes the urge to craft a seasonal wreath. This year, an autumn harvest wreath will keep the garden alive indoors for me.
Choose any vining type of plant to make your backing. Wild grapes grow in almost all woods, or you might have some domestic grapevine in your garden. For a small wreath, about a yard of fine grapevine will do. Hardy kiwi vines also work well; honeysuckle vines and Peter’s trumpet vines can all be used. I wound the vine into a 6-inch circle and wove it through a second time to hold.
I grow Artemisia ludoviciana or Silver King, which I cut down to the ground, tied into bunches, and dried in my shed. Its beautiful silvery foliage dries to a silvery gray. I cut it into four to five-inch pieces and put two to three pieces together and attach it to my wreath backing with floral tape. I kept going around the circle backing, attaching the bundles of Silver King in an overlapping manner until the entire ring was covered.
I added two faux apples purchased from a craft store and two brown gumballs from a sweet gum tree. I cut four sprigs of sage and glued them around the wreath. The earthy fragrance of sage reminds me of fall and Thanksgiving. Next, I added bay leaves and mountain mint flower heads, which add a bit of gray-green color. I then cut some thyme that has gotten a little too leggy and glued small bunches of the tiny aromatic leaves into the wreath. Sprigs of lavender add some silver color and fragrance. And I added sprigs of green rosemary for even more fragrance. My native swamp rose bears small orange hips or fruits which adds some orange to the wreath. Small pieces of orange-colored winterberry give it a soft peach color. I finished my wreath with fragrant cinnamon sticks and nutmegs for that extra hint of fall.
Walk around your garden and see what you can use to enjoy your plants throughout the winter months.