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TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2007
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Barbara Mullins’ spring wreath adorns the front gate of her house.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Barbara Mullins’ spring wreath adorns the front gate of her house.

Welcome
home, spring

Use colorful flowers, ribbons to make your own wreath

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decatur daily.com · 340-2446

When spring officially arrives Wednesday, plan to greet it with a colorful, decorative wreath you make yourself.

You can hang it, like a Christmas wreath, on your door or on a fence or gate or inside your home, with ribbon coordinated for your décor. You might even use it to circle a cake or other dish as a table centerpiece, or surround a candle on a side table.

“Wreaths, garlands and swags lend a festive feel to the celebration of every season,” said Barbara Mullins, who demonstrated how to make a spring wreath for a recent women’s workshop at First Baptist Church of Decatur. The Old Decatur resident, a member of the Trowelers Garden Club, helps make wreaths, bows and other decorations for the annual Historic Decatur Christmas Tour and decorates for other events.

She shared a bit of history from “Wreaths and Garlands,” a book by Malcolm Hillier. “Throughout history, we have bound together flowers and foliage to make fragrant wreaths and garlands. The ancients Greeks and Romans made rings of sweet bay and laurel, which were worn by conquering heroes and kings. In the Far East and the Oceanic islands, it has always been traditional to string bright flowers together in a loop to present as a gift to visitors.”

Mullins said author Pamela Westland, in her book “Decorative Wreaths and Garlands,” mentions that in diverse cultures throughout the world, people created wreaths, which, because of the completeness of form in a continuous circle, “came to represent continuity, security, fertility, a successful crop harvest year on year, eternal love, and even life itself.”

Today’s wreaths symbolize hospitality and friendship. Mullins gave instructions for making springtime wreaths, and with her help and supplies, more than a dozen women completed door decorations within two hours.

If you want to go beyond flowers and ribbons, Mullins said, you can even attach artificial birds and birds’ nests to your wreath, or perhaps Easter eggs or small decorative hats. Miniature flower garden implements, such as small clay pots or watering cans, and herbs and spices are other options.

Step 1: Look at the shape of your wreath and decide on the top and bottom, as well as the front and back. Double a piece of floral wire and pull it through the top of the wreath, weaving it around several branches for a secure hold. Fasten securely and twist to fashion a loop hanger for the top back of the wreath.

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Daily photos by Patrice Stewart
Step 2: Look at the 3-6-9-12 orientation of your wreath, and loosely place your largest flowers where you think they will look best. You can leave space for the bow at the top, bottom or side of the wreath. Decide whether you want most of your flowers at the bottom and how far up the sides you want to place flowers.

Step 3: Using cutters, begin to cut the long stems off to about 3 or 4 inches and work the remaining stems into the wreath. Cut smaller blossoms and greenery from the main stem and attach them separately to fill in your arrangement.

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Step 4: Use a glue gun (plugged in and warmed up) to securely glue stems and flowers to the wreath. After the larger flowers are attached, cut and add smaller ones and leaves to fill in. You might want to attach some longer, woody stems, such as branches of pussy willow, to flare out from the sides. Loops of ribbon and lace can be tucked in and secured, if desired.

Barbara Mullins demonstrates how to make a bow for a spring wreath.
Barbara Mullins demonstrates how to make a bow for a spring wreath.
Step 5: Begin to make your bow. Start by leaving an arm’s length of ribbon at the beginning to hang down as one of two streamers (you’ll add the other one at the end of your bow-gathering). Gather your ribbon in a figure-eight shape, pinching the center with the fingers of one hand while feeding ribbon in with the other hand. You can make it as large as you want; when you have the size and look you like, stop and pull a piece of floral wire tightly around the center and twist it. Then use the ends of the wire to attach it to the wreath. Spread and fluff out the loops of your bow and cut the streamer ends to the desired length.

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Step 6: Hang your wreath on your door, or above your fireplace or on a wreath stand, to welcome spring with your colorful creation.

Supplies

These supplies are available at hobby, floral supply and discount department stores. You could also use fresh flowers for a short-term effect.

  • Grapevine or other twig or vine wreath

  • Several pieces of floral wire

  • Wire cutters, small pliers or other tools to cut floral wire and plastic stems

  • Selection of silk flowers in various sizes and colors

  • Roll of wide ribbon wired for use in making bows

  • Glue gun and glue sticks.

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