Friday, January 23, 2015

Wreaths, they’re not just for Christmas you know…

As much as I love putting up the Christmas decor (usually on Black Friday, it's better than shopping) I also can't wait to take it all down. As in on the 26th it's gone. Part of the de-Christmasizing process is shopping for a nice big bunch of cut flowers, because otherwise the house feels a little drab after all the holiday finery is put away. This year I decided against the flowers, but instead to continue my wreath obsession, besides the circle pot was practically begging for another orb...

This one is made from purchased eucalyptus and leaves cut from my Fatshedera lizei 'Annemieke'.

I love the mix of powder blue and bright green. The leaf shapes contrast nicely too.

And I lied about not getting any flowers, there are some leucadendron in the green vase on the left...

So indeed, I am a touch obsessed. After reading a great review of the Wreath Recipe Book on Gardenista (back in early December) I clicked on over to Amazon where I discovered a used copy for only $3.38, naturally I bought it!

I finally got around to opening it up a couple of weeks ago, reading it in bed one night Andrew says “why are you reading that now, wreaths are for Christmas and Christmas is over”…oh silly. No, no they’re not! While they’re usually associated with cut evergreens and the holiday season they have much more history and symbolism (which I started to go into here but then realized this post was going to get really long and heavy if I did, if you’re curious there’s some good info here, here, and here).

I am in love with this book. It's divided into the four seasons.

And within each section are groupings like this: a star player and supporting characters.

The best part is the authors (the ladies of Studio Choo) share multiple projects they create with those ingredients and helpful instructions.

They explain how to wire succulents so they can hang in arrangements like the one below. They talk about using small plastic water tubes to keep some blossoms perky and in fact have a whole section devoted to tools and techniques.

Another cast of characters...

Of course not all the designs are what I would call desirable. There are a few wacky ideas...

But even when they aren't something you'd care to replicate the designs still inspire and get the creative ideas a flowing. After all coming up with your own "inspired by" designs is much more fun than slavishly copying someone else.

Suddenly orchids and lichen covered branches seem like the best combination...

I was suprised to read authors encourage something that I've always done but thought of as cheating. Once I complete a wreath and hang it up there are inevitably a few spots that need a little "more," so I tuck in a bits to fill them. How nice to know the pros do that too...

So do you remember that other wreath I talked about making? With the Fatsia japonica bloomy/berry things and black mondo grass? Well that was my next project...

By the time I cut the fatsia bits they'd started to turn green, loosing their paleness.

And there are always a few greenish blades mixed in with the black.

So my stark black and white wreath morphed and I decided to add maidenhair fern, hoping those black stems would mix well with the mondo grass.

I made my little bundles, and then attached them to the wreath form.

I wasn't sure where this one would hang, but decided it would be nice to add a third circle to the mantle arrangement. The finished product...

In the Wreath Recipe Book there is some helpful information about what stems and flowers last a long while without water. I was fairly certain the maidenhair fern would dry quickly, which it did. Still it maintained the wispy shape I was after and looked good for a couple of weeks.

But wait! There's more...

Did you see the cover of the December issue of Sunset? I did and couldn't buy the magazine fast enough. The cashier (I bought it at a local nursery). Swooned along with me, then added..."can you imagine how much that would cost to make?" Yes, yes I can. I'd already done a little mental calculation and put it in the "if only..." (I were rich/lived in California and had these in my garden) category.

But where there's a will there's a way.

I'd saved the dried leucadendrons from my Christmas tree and the bouquet I was gifted and once the fatsia/fern wreath was looking shabby I got to work...

The dried flowers are augmented with a few proteaceous stems from my garden: Grevillea ‘Poorinda Leane’, G. victoriae, and G. australis. It's not as luxurious as the one on the Sunset cover but for the low low price of free, well, it makes me happy.

They are all holding up extremely well, a week into it and everything looks fresh (although a little blurry, that's the price of photographing indoors on a cloudy day).

I think I've got this wreath thing out of my system, for now...

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Living in a mossy paradise

During dogs walks around the neighborhood it's nearly impossible to not stop and ogle the moss.

Or the tiny undersea life forms.

Which are actually on a red lava rock very much above ground, although with the amount of rain we got last weekend perhaps they were confused.

Speaking of last weekend...after a seemingly nonstop day of rain on Saturday, Sunday was for the most part dry. Andrew and I took advantage of the warm temperatures (60F) and got out to do a little exploring. Our location of choice? Elk Rock Garden at the Bishop's Close.

And there was moss.

And the hamamelis were blooming.

And there was moss...

And oak galls!

The Willamette River.

Sky behind the branches? No, still the river.

The Garden allows dog visitors on leash, which is a nice thing.

Seconds before she was looking up over the side of the pond, trying to see what Andrew and I were looking at. I missed getting that shot.

This is what we were looking at...

I think there are baby newts in the making right there, let's give them some privacy.

Up until last weekend Portland was behind in monthly rainfall. You never could have guessed. Viburnum grandiflorum...

Garrya elliptica

Rhododendron sinogrande

Stewartia pseudocamellia

This particular hamamelis will always have a special place in my heart, it's the first one I could ever actually smell. (I first discovered it in February of 2013)

There was one little bloom on the Magnolia delavayi.

No moss, just fire.

Moss.

No worries. There is moss.

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.