• Katy Gardener

A summer wreath

Updated: Apr 20



In my late twenties I dreamt of becoming a florist. I’m now in my earlyish thirties and I’m still not a florist. I never quite had the guts to give up my job and take the plunge. What I have done though, is build up a library of flower-arranging books and made frequent trips to the wholesale flower market to experiment with flowers.


At the market I always end up spending a small fortune picking up flowers to make arrangements back at home. I only need the smallest excuse: people coming around for Sunday lunch, the arrival of spring, or just the novelty of Bertie’s four-month birthday to make up an arrangement. I tend to choose flowers because I like the look of them, without knowing their names, their price, or how to condition and arrange them.




The other week my friend and I got talking about Christmas, and she remembered my Christmas wreath from last year and was keen to see if we could have a go at making a summer wreath. So, a plan was made for four of us to meet one evening and get creative.


As I have said, I’m not a florist, just an enthusiastic novice, but I was excited by the challenge. I went to the market armed with some ideas but to my surprise there is not much happening in terms of flowers in mid to late August. I was amazed to see that wintery berries were in stock or expensive commercially grown roses that didn’t capture the summery image in my head. In fact, none of the flowers available captured the whimsical pale pinks that I had in mind, so I had to improvise.

The wreath team: Caroline, Florence and Val

The starting point I settled on was a deep purple delphinium. From there I built up a collection of foliage and white flowers of every shape and size: wax flower for texture, Lysimachia for architectural height, and astrantia for summery romance.


Thankfully the wonderful man who runs the market helped me work out the relevant quantities as mental arithmetic has never been my strongest talent. He gave me confidence to go with my gut instinct and he even threw in some extra bunches for luck. I headed home with a heaving car of flowers and I made up a trial wreath that my pals could use as a guideline for their own wreaths. I got such a thrill from having the house full of flowers. That smell of fresh fragrant flowers is intoxicating.

This is Florence's wreath

The evening was great. I’m not convinced that the selection of flowers was the best, but it did not matter. What mattered is that four new Mums got together and did something creative for themselves. Everyone became totally immersed in their project and the conversation was not dominated by babies. It was so refreshing!



To build the wreath we used Oasis rings with a 30cm radius. We started by soaking them completely in cold water and then gradually built up the wreaths first with foliage and then gradually built in the flowers layer upon layer.


Ingredients

  • Oasis ring soaked in cold water until it sinks

  • Twine or ribbon if you intend to hang the wreath

Foliage

  • Olive sprigs

  • Beach leaves

  • Foliage from the garden

  • Ruscus

Flowers

  • Delphinium

  • Astantia White Million Star

  • Thalspi Green Bell

  • Lysimachia

  • Wax flower

  • Wild cow parsley

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