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Arranged Marriages (of flowers, of course): House Jewelry

September is almost here.  We already see yellow school buses everywhere…and soon we will see yellow leaves…mixed with green and orange and russet…all signaling the approaching arrival of autumn.  Some will reluctantly let go of summer while others embrace all that autumn brings.  Leaf-peeping, football, chili suppers, and “house jewelry”.  Yes, “house jewelry”…a beautiful wreath on the front door of a house, proudly worn like one would wear a necklace, a brooch, a tie clasp, or a lapel pin.  An ornament that can draw attention, or better yet, focus attention making the sum of various elements look totally complete!


One of the things that I enjoyed the most as a florist and floral designer was creating decorative wreaths made of “permanent” materials…in other words, not live foliages, flowers, or berries.  Some wreaths were “made to order” with careful consideration to customers’ choices.  Most were made as spec-wreaths to be displayed in the shop so that customers would have a variety of wreaths to choose from.  The designer who created the wreath decided on the colors and materials for the design.

Autumn wreaths are my favorite to design.  I love the season!  Fall-toned “silk” leaves come in many varieties…maple, oak, beech, dogwood, etc. which give an array of color and leaf shapes to choose from.  Faux berries also come in many colors that combine beautifully with fall leaves.  Larger faux accents that work well in fall wreaths are apples, crabapples, pears, and Chinese lanterns.

Most of the fall wreaths that I have created were made by using a glue gun to attach materials to a grapevine wreath.  Before using materials that would be going outside, I tested them to determine whether or not they would bleed color if exposed to rain or snow.  Most of the fall leaves formed the base.  Then the accent berries or fruit or Chinese lanterns were added last.  Sometimes I used supple twigs or angel vine to add a natural element for interest.  Some had bows—many did not.


If you would like to create your own autumn wreath so that your home can proudly wear “house jewelry” this fall, remember how important it is to test the materials with water if the wreath will be used outside.  Balance the placement of the accent elements (berries, fruit, etc.) so that your eye moves easily around the wreath.  Your wreath will be more interesting if it has depth.  When forming the base with fall leaves, sink some leaves deeper than others for more of a 3-D effect.  Add a bow if you like.

I will adorn my home with its autumn wreath “house jewelry” on September 8th this year—the day after Labor Day, the last red, white, and blue holiday of the summer.  I don’t want the wreath to divert attention from the small American flag display that will sit on a rustic cabinet just outside the front door.

Maybe my wreath will have a bow this year…

Posted By: Evelyn Kinville, Behnke’s Garden Blogger

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I would be interested in a fall wreath making course. I also have a double front door. Do I need two wreaths?

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