Stylist and author Shane Powers is showing us how to preserve those precious summer blooms to enjoy all year long. We love this exotic-looking garland that would look just as home strewn across a child’s bedposts as it would a late summer lunch party. Shane’s ‘Bring the Outdoors In‘,is stuffed with just these kinds of versatile and natural wonders – no surprise, since Shane has served as both the styling tour de force behind Blueprint, the short-lived, but much drooled-over magazine, and Martha Stewart Living. In his book full of garden projects, this home stylist shares inspiring ideas using natural materials straight from the garden to perfect accents for home decoration, gifts and parties. Here’s Shane…
In my travels through India, I saw many incredible ceremonial garlands of fresh flowers, which inspired this everlasting project. At a luxurious 16 ft in length and with an abundance of nature’s varieties, this garland is far from simple. It is a riot of color, a mad combination of shape and texture but confined into one fine line. Here it serves as a beautiful necklace on the wall, but you might also hang it over curtain hardware near a window. There’s no particular pattern for this garland; feel free to experiment with limiting the lineup to two or three hues or types of flowers.
For this garland, I purchased assorted inexpensive dried flowers in bulk and supplemented them with specific specimens like Limonium (statice), Echinops ritro (globe thistle), Celosia (cockscomb), Delphinium (larkspur), Physalis (Chinese lanterns), Craspedia (billy buttons), and wheat. Cutting the heads off of dried flowers yourself will give the most exacting results.
White polyester thread
Hand sewing needle
Approximately 1 lb/0.5 kg of dried flower heads, buds, and pods
Small nails (optional)
Cut a piece of thread the length of the garland you would like, plus a little extra; the garland here is 16 ft/5 m long.
Working on a large table or the floor, use the needle and thread and begin stringing dried elements until you reach the middle of the length of thread. Then, rethread the needle on the other end of the thread and begin again from the other direction so you are not pulling so much thread through each dried piece. If it’s too laborious to thread the elements onto such a long piece of thread, try cutting it into three shorter lengths, threading them separately, then tying them together when completed. Some pieces may crumble a bit, but keep going; use leftover elements to fill in if need be (just wrap the bit of thread around the stem of a flower head or piece of wheat). If you have a piece that is too awkward to pierce properly, wrap the thread around a secure part of it and make a single knot to hold it and continue. Keep an eye on the composition as you go, spacing colors and shapes as you wish.
Once you have finished stringing, tie a knot at each end; you may need to double or triple the knot until it is thick enough to prevent any dried elements from slipping off, or use a plant at each end that you can readily create a loop around.
The garland is ready to hang. Be sure to move it very gently to prevent bits from breaking off. Drape it over the corner of a frame on a wall or hang it from a pair of small nails and let the ends fall gracefully to the floor.
Dried flowers are delicate, so be sure to hang your garland somewhere it will not be bumped a lot. It may fade in sunlight over time, but that’s part of its romantic beauty.