Nature provides us with a feast for the eyes each autumn. The soothing, cool of green leaves awakens the spirit with vibrant reds, orange, bronze, and yellows. Suddenly when the sun shines the world looks brighter, as if one last blast of color is enough to tide us over until spring bursts forth once again. Capturing the beauty of autumn so it will stay until you hear carols play is as easy as spending a few hours creating a harvest wreath.
Wreaths can be any size, any shape, and made of just about anything. The loveliest wreaths are those made from natural materials, either preserved, dried, or fresh. Nothing can compare with the velvety texture of a fresh rose, but a freeze-dried rose comes very close. You’ll find directions for two very different harvest wreaths, both capture the themes of autumn with ideas of bounty, cornucopias filled to the brim, and the largesse that nature bestows upon all those who take the time to appreciate autumn harvest.
Woods and Field Autumn Wreath
- One 12 or 18 inch straw wreath
- Floral pins
- Floral picks
- Hot glue gun
- Clippers or scissors
- Artemisia (Sweet Annie, Silver king, Southernwood)
- Bunch of wheat or a similar ornamental grass celosia
- Sage, thyme, rosemary, or any aromatic dried herbs
- Pheasant feathers
- Select three long pheasant feathers and if they arch slightly to one side all the better. The longest feather will be placed on one the left side of the straw wreath facing upward. If it’s too long cut it until it looks in scale and proportion with the wreath. Pin it to the wreath. The next feather should be slightly shorter in length and will go to the left of the first one. The last feather will face downwards from the other two, angling slightly. You’ve created the outline for the rest of the wreath.
- Begin creating small bunches of Artemisia cutting the stems longer and shortening the length as you near the center. Do the same heading downward toward the pheasant feather. You don’t want to hide the feathers completely.
- Next being inserting wheat. Use three stems to insert into one place and try to keep the stems at various levels. Keep working the wheat in both going up and down. Save some wheat for the focal.
- Gather a bunch of wheat in one hand and tie a bit of raffia around it. Create another bunch of wheat and do the same. Make sure you’ve left plenty of stem. Where the stems going up and down meet, pin or hot glue, if necessary, the bundle of wheat at an angle to the flow of the design. Lay the other bundle across the first one and pin or hot glue. This should create an elongated cross with the stems of both bundles facing down.
- If the crested celosia is one large head, cut into smaller sections of three or five. Begin hot gluing the celosia about the center where the two bundles of wheat cross over. You’ll want the celosia to be prominent and a focal point for the wreath.
- Make small bunches of mixed herbs and pick them together. Insert the herbs around the focal and gradually ending up and down each side of the center.
- Finish off with pheasant feathers. Cut the feathers in various lengths and insert them along the line of the design. Make sure at least three small ones are among the botanicals that create the focal.
This wreath should be full and not flat with an asymmetrical line that adds interest. The velvet of the celosia and the satin of the pheasant feathers combined with the rough herbs and spiky wheat creates a unique “welcome to my home” at your front door.
Harvest Home Wreath
- Hot glue gun
- Clippers or scissors
- One brown pipe cleaner
- One 12 or 18 inch grapevine wreath
- A variety of small gourds and pumpkins (preferably fresh or dried)
- Apples (use lady apples if possible or crab apples work well, too) or dried pomegranates
- A large bunch of salal or lemon leaves
- Yellow yarrow
- Poppy pods
- A package of mixed nuts still in the shell
- At least five bundles (3-5 sticks in each) of long cinnamon sticks
- Although not a fan of artificial botanicals, using artificial gourds and apples allows a longer shelf life
- Create a loop with the pipe cleaner and attach to a firm stem of the grapevine wreath. Hot glue to hold it in place.
- Begin by hot gluing the tiny gourds and pumpkins on the wreath. Place that around the wreath but certainly not in any straight orderly fashion.
- Hot glue tiny apples or pomegranates about the wreath.
- Being cutting the hydrangeas into smaller pieces. Usually one large head yields a fair number of florets. Hot glue the hydrangeas all over the wreath.
- Continue doing the same with the yarrow and the lemon leaves. There truly is no pattern involved in the arrangement, but the wreath should have a flow to it and be pleasing to the eye.
- Take a long stem of bittersweet and weave in and out of the wreath by hot gluing the stem to the vine periodically. You want it to look as though it wound its way about the wreath as it grew.
- Carefully hot glue three to five mixed nuts to form clusters. An example might be: two English walnuts, one deep brown Brazil nut, and an almond. Glue the nut clusters to the wreath making sure they can be seen but are not sitting on top of a flower in a conspicuous way.
- The bundles of cinnamon sticks come last. They should be bound together with raffia and then hot glued at various angles over the entire wreath.
You’re wreath is finished when there are no holes and the grapevine cannot be seen. It should be full and lush and colorfully autumn.
Autumn harvest means crisp mornings, rich tapestries of color, and welcoming guests to your home for Thanksgiving. This year make your welcome a uniquely creative one with touches of whimsical pheasant feathers or long stems of pumpkin-orange bittersweet in harvest wreaths. Either way you go, your doorway will smile with autumn splendor.