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Flowers and Plants
Hamster Wheel Garden Wreath
Sturdy succulents hide the clever reinvention, but the wreath's long-lasting beauty speaks for itself
I am a freelance editorial and wedding photographer and Houzz contributor based out of Hershey, PA. Come visit me at 'A Nest for All Seasons' where I write about design, photography and modern garden living!
I am a freelance editorial and wedding photographer and Houzz contributor... More »
Even if you don't have time to care for a full-fledged garden, you can still have a little green in your life. Houseplants and window boxes are common solutions, but wreaths and garlands are often overlooked after Christmas. Try crafting a living wreath of tough succulents to hang on your door or lie flat on a patio.
A wreath is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an old hamster wheel. However, the metal frame turns out to be a perfect structure for creating a wreath.
Not only does the ring provide surfaces for weaving plants in and out, but the middle bar creates a perfect little handle for transport.
Tip: If you can't find an old hamster wheel frame, you can purchase a wreath frame at any craft store.
Soak sphagnum moss in a bucket of water until saturated. Hold the moss onto the sides of the frame and wrap the entire length with fishing line. Continue placing moss on the frame and securing it with the line until the entire frame is covered.
Once you have covered the frame in moss, choose the plants you want for the wreath. There are hundreds of succulents to choose from, all with different shapes and sizes. Select a combination of large, medium and small succulents for variety, and add a trailing plant for movement.
The longer trailing plant I used is commonly called donkey spurge. But be careful: Donkey spurge, a euphorbia, can cause skin irritation when cut and can be poisonous when injested. Wear gloves or avoid the issue entirely by using medium-size stonecrops.
For an expansive list of succulent choices, visit Drought Smart Plants.
Attaching the plants is simply a matter of weaving the tough stems through the metal grid of the frame. Make sure that the ends of the stems end up nestled in the wet moss. If a plant will not stay put, slide bobby pins through the metal framework to hold stems in place.
After attaching the larger succulents, fill in the empty spaces with smaller ones. Again, use a small bobby bin to attach the stems to the wire frame.
As you pull off leaves from the bottoms of the various stems, don't throw them away. Succulents can root from stems as well as from leaves, so each of those leaves can create a new plant.
Simply place the cut end of the leaf into a base of soil, and before long, the plant will start sending up leaflets. After a few months, the entire plant can be transplanted to another pot or straight into the garden, or you can use it in another living wreath.
Every few weeks, simply pick up your wreath by its nifty handle, submerge it gently in a large tub of lukewarm water and allow the moss to become saturated again.
Your wreath will live through the spring and summer with very little care. You can store it through the winter and then revive the plants in the spring, or simply start over again with new cuttings.
More great handmade wreaths
Ideabook published on Feb. 17, 2012.
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