Monday, May 2, 2011

fresh flower garlands

As part of our special celebration yesterday we crowned our dear daughter Queen of the May.  I adore the carefree frolicking of any child running and laughing with flowers in their hair.  Who doesn't?

We didn't actually plan ahead for that May Day garland and were lucky to have some gladiolas handy to put one together.  For next week's May Faire at Naiya's school we'll be gathering blossoms in advance and although she'll not be queen of that festival, our little Naiya Sophia will certainly celebrate as a fairy princess.

Since our friend Lisa asked how we created the wreaths for last year's Faire, I thought I'd use yesterday's fabrication to post a quick how-to...

For a basic garland, all that is needed are fresh flowers, a wire coat hanger (or heavy gauge wire), floral tape and (optionally) some strands of multi-colored ribbon or yarn.

Begin by unwinding a wire hanger (or simply use a heavy gauge wire) and bend it into a circle slightly larger than the head for which it is intended.  (It is slightly larger so that when the flowers are added to bulk up the circumference, it will still fit.)

Loop the excess wire around itself to hold the circlet in place, then wrap the wire with floral tape.  (Floral tape is slightly waxy, somewhat stretchy and sticks to itself but not to you.  It is the key to easy garland making.)

Cut the flowers so that each bloom or branch has about 2 inches of excess stem to wrap.

Lay one flower stem against the ring and wrap a short length of floral tape around the wire and stem, binding them together.

Lay another flower in the same direction as close as possible to the first and repeat the above wrapping process.

Because I was using gladiolas which have several flowers on one stem, I left some of the branches intact (with several blooms together) and just wrapped at various points along the shoot.

This wrapping was done for every flower until the circular base was completely covered.  (Additional tape was added where flowers or stems felt loose or stuck out at odd angles.)

From underneath, the wreath looked like this.  (It's also possible to cover both the top and bottom side using this same method.  It just takes more flowers and fingers gentle and adept enough to tuck around and under fragile blossoms.)

For a little extra flourish I added ribbon streamers.

When the garland was complete our May Queen was ever so pleased.

Our garlands last year were created basically the same way but with hawthorn branches wrapped onto the wire circle prior to adding more flowers.  By themselves I thought the hawthorn made a more masculine coronal and my dad (always the good-natured festival participant) donned his cheerful head-wear with aplomb almost the entire day.

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