GARDEN WREATHS written by Elizabeth Fiend
I recently created two wreaths out of vines from my garden. One wreath is ‘living’ so I guess I could call it topiary. It’s like a magical window I look through to the rest of the yard.
I started it with a hula-hoop, if you look closely you can see the green and white stripe of the hoop. With a piece of string I suspended the hula-hoop above the grape vine, hanging it from the cross-beam of a seating area Mr. Fiend built in the way-back of our yard. At first I tacked another piece of string from the bottom of the hula-hoop to the ground so the wreath wouldn’t swing around in the wind.
Every couple of weeks during the growing season I would wrap and tie down the vines around the hoop, at the same time cutting back vines that were growing in the wrong place. It was slow going at first and tricky to keep the vines growing in the proper direction and I almost bailed on the project. But I kept at it. Three years later it looks smashing. Don’t you agree?
I came up with the idea of using a hula-hoop as a base for the grape-wood circle because when the wreath was sturdy enough I could easily cut open the hoop and twist it out leaving a truly amazing circle of live wood suspended in the air. I think I’m ready to cut the hoop, but I’ll wait until the winter when there are no leaves.
You can see another whimsical aspect of my garden philosophy – secret and expected elements – in the crux of the grape’s cane. These two porcelain figures were part of a soup terrine that was handed down in my family. Unfortunately somewhere along the way it was cracked (not by me!). Instead of throwing it away I asked my father if he could cut off the two charming figurines. They now sit on the wood, laughing and care free. Because of the nature of the grape, the wood is actually growing around the figurines and they too will become a permanent part of the plant.
The rotten tomato was stolen from my tomato patch by a rotten squirrel and abandoned in this very spot. Quite attractive actually, but still I would have preferred to eat the tomato – squirrels are so wasteful! And to the left a stray earring, now you know what to do when you lose one — hang the remaining one in a tree!
Above is the second wreath, it’s much more straightforward. Just twist thin vines in a circle; I lightly sprayed the circle with gold paint; cut thicker vines into attractive ‘straight’ pieces; wire down in place. The result: an Anarchy symbol to proudly display on my front door. This idea works well with peace-signs or your initials too.
Have fun in your garden this fall! Love, Elizabeth Fiend