Fall Decorating With Natural Materials

Fall Decorating With Natural Materials

Part of Ep. 1404 Harvest Traditions

Celebrate harvest traditions by learning how to create a fall wreath at Monches Farm. Floral designer Johanna Klecker shows how to bring a little bit of the outdoors in even when the weather cools.

Premiere date: Nov 01, 2006

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
Autumn is my favorite time of year.  It's cooler and it's the harvest season.  Welcome to the Wisconsin Gardener I'm your host, Shelley Ryan.  Today's program celebrates "Harvest Traditions."  We travel to Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa to sample some heirloom squashes and pumpkins.  At Olbrich Gardens in Madison, we learn how to plant bulbs so they will naturalize and spread.  The program also looks at a Mexican holiday called the Day of the Dead.  At Monches Farm, we create a fall wreath.  Also on the program we let Mother Nature inspire us in costume creation.  Find out how on the Wisconsin Gardener.  

Shelley:
When talking about preserving the harvest, don't forget to think about some of the beauty out there that you might want to bring indoors, too.  This is a basket of plants that grows readily just about anywhere.  Look how pretty it looks just in a basket.  We're going to learn how to turn it into something gorgeous like this wreath, right here.  We are at Monches Farm in the town of Erin and I am with floral designer Johanna Kleckner.  Johanna, not only do you make these gorgeous wreaths you teach classes to others to teach us how to make these. 

Johanna:
We do in the winter. 

Shelley:
Well, let's talk about some of the plants you've got here because this basket alone is gorgeous.  I recognize dried peonies.  I see rose hips.  This looks like the seed head of an ornamental onion but it's glittering. 

Johanna:
A little magic. 

Shelley:
What's this, Johanna? 

Johanna:
That's lady's mantle, and that can dry as well.  It's a little bit fragile when it's dry but it still has a beautiful texture. 

Shelley:
Gorgeous, I never thought of using that.  I guess the first question, when I look at this is anything in the back yard is fair game to try.  How do we preserve it? 

Johanna:
Anything that can be naturally dried can just be hung upside down.  It's better to pick it when it's not in full bloom because it will open up a little bit more as it dries.  We just hang things upside down.  We use rubber bands because, as they shrink down the rubber band shrinks, and it works out really well. 

Shelley:
Any place in particular to hang this stuff? 

Johanna:
You want to hang it in a dry area. 

Shelley:
Cool, dry. 

Johanna:
If you need to dry it quickly, put it next to a dehumidifier.  That will help, too. 

Shelley:
Well, this is one of your creations.  This is a mixture of stuff that we can grow and buy. 

Johanna:
Right, we have larkspur, Santa Cruz oregano.  We have penny cress, really just a weed.  Some silver cone, which is dyed and preserved and some silal leaves, which are also dyed and preserved.  And a little eucalyptus. 

Shelley:
Well, this looks so intimidating yet you're saying I can do this. 

Johanna:
Really, it's very easy.  This basket of flowers here it took this entire basket to make this wreath. 

Shelley:
Wow, maybe my first mistake is not having enough material. 

Johanna:
Sometimes. 

Shelley:
So, when we're gathering stuff, have enough.  That's the oregano.  I really like that.  That's fragrant, too. 

Johanna:
It has a wonderful smell.  It really holds up well to humidity. 

Shelley:
So, we have a basket of material.  How do we turn the basket, which is pretty, into this? 
Johanna:
This wreath is actually made on this ring. 

Shelley:
Oh, just a simple ring! 

Johanna:
With this 26-gauge wire. 

Shelley:
Can I get that at a craft store? 

Johanna:
You can get it anywhere. 

Shelley:
You're just twisting it around. 

Johanna:
I twist it around, I leave a little tail which I'm hopeful I can find at the end probably not, but maybe 25 percent of the time!  I'm gathering bundles together.  For this wreath, I'm putting the taller things in the back. 

Shelley:
Each bundle is designed individually. 

Johanna:
Yes, for this wreath, I tried to make each bundle the same.  Now, if you look at these--  If it's easier for you to do it this way you can wire them together. 

Shelley:
As a beginner, I might want to pre-bundle.  You probably don't need to do that anymore. 

Johanna:
You can have them piled up, and these would be done following the same direction that these are. 
Shelley:
You've got the taller penny cress in the back. 

Johanna:
Right, and the larkspur.  In a spiral fashion, we'll wire it on.  I will twist the wire around a few times. 

Shelley:
Do you have to go really tight? 
Johanna:
Pretty tight, you don't want it to be floppy.  Then I bring the wire down, and cut off any extra. 

Shelley:
You're just trimming the stems, not cutting the wire. 

Johanna:
Right, leave this wire on until we get to the end where we attach it to this tail. 

Shelley:
Oh, maybe another mistake I made when I did this. 

Johanna:
Then, we'll put the second bundle on top of the first. 

Shelley:
So, you're using the leaf to hide the wire from the first bundle. 

Johanna:
Then, as you can see we're putting it on top of the previous stems.  You want to catch the stems a second time.  Then, we'll bring it down. 

Shelley:
It looks gorgeous, already. 

Johanna:
Thank you.  Then, we would just keep adding on. 

Shelley:
You can go in different directions to change the shape.  This is going to be the same kind of spiral. 

Johanna:
Exactly. 

Shelley:
I've had some wreaths that I purchased and after a while, they look filthy. 

Johanna:
To clean dried flowers we use Aquanet hair spray.  I've tried other hair sprays, but they didn't work.  Aquanet dissolves the dust and they look brand new. 

Shelley:
You're kidding?  That's all I have to do?  Then I don't have to dust it, it'll preserve it? 

Johanna:
Absolutely. 

Shelley:
I can't wait to try this.  Thank you so much for the information. 

Johanna:
Thank you for having me. 

Shelley:
Just look what you can bring inside and enjoy all season long. 

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