Fall Wreaths…

imageFall Wreaths are an essential transition from summer to harvest, on Southern doors and interiors you will find wreaths and arrangements gleaned from yards and gardens. From the cradle to the grave, Southern ladies insist that:

  •  Knowing a good florist is essential, especially if you don’t happen to have a green thumb or know anyone who does. Please do this by recommendation- if you visit a florist that bases the business on lots of glitter, tinted carnations, specializes in funeral wreaths shaped like golf carts, makes holiday arrangements with canned snow and plastic snowmen  or Horror of all Horrors mostly uses artificial flowers– with as much grace as you can muster, tiptoe backwards out of that shop and run- don’t walk away. Resolve to never darken the door of that place again! It can only lead to social embarrassment.
  • Being in a Garden Club trains ladies in the fine arts of arranging flowers, especially yard flowers for their homes. Being on the Altar Committee of your church is a labor of love and if you have a member who makes an offering of artfully designed yard flowers all the better. Working Garden Club Holiday Houses is not for the faint of heart- it is as rigorous as SEC Spring Training! Beautification of your community is considered  an act of love and devotion as long as you do it with a stylish garden hat and matching gloves; are able to merely glow and grow, without breaking a sweat!
  • The very height of a Southern lady’s repertoire is to actually grow flora and fauna in her yard to use for home décor and special events. Any time there are especially auspicious occasions you can find florally talented ladies roaming all over yards that are known to have seasonal specialties, snipping and trimming from yard to yard to get up enough for a yard arrangement, which is highest form of floral gentility, good taste and refinement.

Fall Wreaths are part of the genteel Southern tradition. If you don’t actually have a granddaddy who owns a cotton farm, well- at least you can round up some cotton to make a Fall Wreath to grace your interiors or front doors. Cotton Wreaths are highly prized in Alabama. I fashioned my own wreath from cotton grown in the George Washington Carver Garden at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which was given to me as a gift from the gardeners. I had my husband go to an actual cotton farm and chop cotton for me so that friends and family could have their own! Be sure and leave the ’empty cotton bolls’ on the stems- they are called Southern Stars!wreath

Fine gentlemen consider it a privilege to grow Muscadines even if the deer eat all of them before anyone gets enough to actually make a pot of jelly! Southern men might dream of Muscadine Wine but he knows the ladies will appreciate the vines for their Fall Wreaths, even if his vines aren’t successful that year. img_0120-2

Herb boutonnieres are a wonderful addition to weddings and funerals- Granddaughters of a large family I know, fashioned herb badges for family members- Rosemary for Remembrance and Lavender for Love and Devotion, for the visitation and then a few months later, they planted Rosemary and Lavender behind the gravestone. I know one lady who knew that a prominent member of the community would be wall to wall with funeral stands on his behalf. She decided to cut and wrap a massive arm bouquet of fresh rosemary to be presented to the widow at the gravesite- it was a sweet gesture of remembrance. Fall Wreaths can be made from fresh herbs and hung to dry for snipping later, Southerners love this idea. I admit to having fresh basil drying in my pantry as we speak, shamefully I did not fashion it into a Fall Wreath. However, months before a nightly nip in the air arrived, I cut and filled big galvanized tubs with hydrangeas which are drying for Fall Wreaths and filling baskets here at Camellia’s Cottage.

imageThis weekend, get outside and wind up some Vines, some of the most beautiful Fall Wreaths I have ever seen were made from Kudzu vines! Morning glory vines also make wonderful wreaths… even cuttings of long flexible shrub branches wind up in a quirky sort of way….the wreath on top of the white chest at the end of this post was made from Fresh Gardenia shrub growth- it just happened to dry into a glorious shade of brown, I added cotton to it, to make a Fall Wreath. It is one of my favorite wreaths. You can also purchase grapevine wreaths and stick rose hips, herbs or dried pods and berries along with magnolia leaves for a stunning Fall Wreath- you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot of decorating magic. Go ahead and embrace the imperfection of yard finds. And please remember the advice from our Southern ladies- Yard flowers are the most loving, because they are a part of who we are.

Love y’all, Camellia. image

All of these less than perfect photographs are shamefully mine.

21 thoughts on “Fall Wreaths…

  1. My Aunts Opal, and Betty Marie made grapevine wreaths, in all sizes. And I took their basics, and decorated them! Love doing theme wreaths!
    Once, Aunt Opal even made grapevine trees. (not my favorite.)
    Shamefully, I was happy to see your “less than perfect photographs”. Now I feel less lonely about mine! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love doing what I call an herb bundle made with Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and lavender and attaching it to a split log to dry with a pine cone or two for Remembrance, Time, Wisdom, Love, Evergreen or ‘always ‘ and on Christmas Eve or New Years Eve burn the herbs and Yule Log as good wishes ! Thank you darlin’ Ohio is really so much like the South I think! We will take you !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so glad you described this more since I was picturing an herbal leaf wreath.
        I liked the idea of an herb bundle, it’s meaning and attaching to a split log. 🙂

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  2. I have a grape vine I’m going to have to cut back this year because the arbor under it needs replacing. So, after reading this, a wreath may be in the making! 😉 I loved the cotton one…and couldn’t help but think of the recent distress over the cotton decorations in Hobby Lobby. Cotton is beautiful, and I love the idea of decorating with it! Thank you for another beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Deborah! The photographs aren’t very good ! But the fresh grapevine wreath was one of my all time favorites! Easy to do as well! As for the cotton, it is a special cotton and grown in the George Washington Carver Garden at Birmingham Botanical Gardens- and since my husbands grandfather raised cotton with his children and grandchildren who mainly picked it- I feel a connection with it as a cash crop for our family- cotton is now making a comeback for the floral trade and also is being grown for the organic clothing trade as well in Alabama and other Southern States…we can’t change history even the darkest parts of it- I would never want to offend anyone! However I also feel a certain connection for anyone who has ever picked it! Very difficult to do by hand… I say use it if it is grown responsibly.. some cotton farms near me still use strong chemicals I have worked with some of that and found it scary to use … we must find ways to support small farmers and realize it was backbreaking work… thank you for your comments!!! Let me know how your wreath making goes!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for that bit of cotton history. I love hearing the ‘why’ behind a topic. I buy cotton whenever possible in clothing, towels and bedding. I love hearing that it is being grown here and making a comeback. I’ll let you know if I get the wreath done. 😉

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