Sage wreath

I've made one and only one dried wreath in my life, during a class at an herb farm that's been gone for years. My friend Ruth and I went together, and had such a good time. The Fat Hen Herb Farm was close to town, but definitely in the country, thanks to a zoning pocket that protected small horse farms and a few ground-breaking organic farms.

Our class was out-of-doors, on picnic tables under the orchard trees. One table held boxes of different kinds of dried flowers and herbs, beautiful subtle colors and also bright strawflowers. We each got a straw wreath to build on, wrapped in nylon thread. Our instructions were few (actually, two): Choose one type of herb or greenery to start with, and cover the straw base so it was completely hidden. Then add more flowers and herbs to add interest. Tuck stems securely behind the nylon thread that holds the straw base together, and make sure to work in the same direction, so the twigs "flow" around the circle of the wreath.

My sister Laurie had a cottage business for years, growing flowers and herbs, drying them, and making wreaths. My favorites were made from hydrangea blossoms, gorgeous blues and purples, interspersed with baby's breath. I loved the subtle play of color, and wanted that for my own wreath. I chose grey-green sage for the base of my wreath, loving the way the stems of sage curled as they dried. To complement the pale green, I chose subtle colors purple and white statice, stalks of pale grains, and cute little wheat colored seed pods.

When we were finished, we walked around and looked at everyone's finished wreaths. I was amazed at how creative everyone was, and was really glad I learned how to do this for myself. My garden has a lot of herbs and flowers that I can dry to make more wreaths for my country house.

Cottage crafts are coming back into style now, but my wreath has hung on the wall of my antique farmhouse from the day I brought it home in 1995, and I never got tired of it. I don't care so much about fashionable decorating styles. I stick to the style that fits my house, the style that helps to make it a home.

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