Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 15, 2020 - 73

reaths are a beautiful way to decorate your home not only for the holidays, but all
year long. Starting with a base of natural moss, you can create wreaths for every
season using leaves, flowers and other gifts foraged from nature. I especially
love making them with succulents, because their fleshy leaves retain water,
allowing them to live and thrive for months. The entire wreath-making process
typically takes less than 30 minutes, costs less than $40 and provides months of
natural beauty for your front door during warm summer months. Succulents are
dormant in winter and susceptible to frost, so if you live in an area with freezing temperatures, you'll need
to bring the succulents indoors when the weather turns.
SELECT SUCCULENTS
Succulents are widely available in local nurseries or from
online purveyors on Etsy and Amazon. I typically order
a mixed variety (they run about $60 for 40 live plants),
which gives me a range of interesting shapes and sizes
to work with. You'll need 20 or so plants to make a
wreath, depending on their size and the diameter of
the frame.
There are many types of succulents to choose from,
but some are better than others for making wreaths.
Sempervivums, also called " hens and chicks, " are ideal
because they have thick, sturdy leaves and can tolerate
both heat and cold. Echeverias have softer leaves than
Sempervivums and sometimes resemble tiny cabbages;
many varieties have vibrantly colored leaves. The only
succulents I don't recommend are sedums with trailing
or hanging parts, because they can be delicate and
difficult to work with.
PREPARE THE BASE
Begin by soaking sphagnum moss in water until it's
thoroughly saturated. Massage it with your fingers
to make the moss more flexible, then lay a generous
amount on top of your base. Wrap green floral wire
around everything to keep it in place. (If you're using a
store-bought living base, skip this step and simply soak
the entire thing in water until it's saturated. See the
sidebar for information about base options.)
ATTACH THE PLANTS
To secure succulents to the base, poke a hole in the
moss with your finger for each one, then place the
succulent (roots and all) into the gap as if you are
planting it in soil. Use metal greening pins to fasten
them to the base, then carefully wrap them with floral
wire to make sure they are secure. Cluster the plants
closely together, alternating different shapes, sizes
and colors to create a pleasing, natural look. As the
succulents continue to grow a root system, they will
better attach themselves to the base.
APPLY FINISHING TOUCHES
If you have access to some pretty decorative moss, like
the pale green usnea that grows on the Jordan Winery
trees, tuck some of it into the wreath to give it a more
rustic, natural appeal. The moss also helps prop up
the succulents and holds them in place. Use greening
pins to secure any loose pieces, then wrap the wreath
in floral wire to make sure everything stays put. When
you're finished, gently hose off the wreath to remove
any soil or debris, and let it dry outside before hanging.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
When your wreath begins feeling a little dry, take it
outside and submerge it in water for a few seconds,
then let it dry. This should give it enough moisture for
another month. If it's cared for properly, your wreath
should last up to a year. Because it's a living thing, the
succulents in the arrangement will continue to grow and
have " babies. " If the wreath becomes too crowded,
you can always deconstruct it and create a second one
using the extra plants. For a cooler climate or during
winter months, bring succulents indoors to avoid frost
or heavy moisture, and place them in a location with
natural light. Replant outdoors in the spring.
W
ELEMENTS OF A LIVING WREATH
Purchase a sphagnum moss wreath base, or make your own using a
wire frame, moss and small tree branches. For a video tutorial, search
" moss wreath " on winecountrytable.com.
73
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Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 15, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 15, 2020

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