On a sunny summer day in Dayton Oregon at Red Ridge Farms, I and a group of 40 or so women set about making our very own lavender wreaths. Maybe you’ve seen them in gift shops or home furnishing stores -- those often expensive, wispy bursts of purple sunshine that transport you to a softer, simpler existence. But they aren’t difficult to make and can be easily and cheaply done in a few hours using lavender or any number of plants/herbs/tree branches from your own yard. If you’re interested, here’s a step by step of how to make your own lavender wreath (although most of the same principles apply to any other kind of wreath making).
Step 1: Gather your supplies
a. A good pair of clippers
b. A wreath form: We used wire forms for the class, but I have used small grapevine wreaths successfully as well. The benefit of the wire forms is their sturdiness -- they can hold a lot of lavender.
c. Florist’s wire
d. A lavender field: Try to time it so that the buds haven’t yet opened. As our instructor Leslie noted, if many of the buds have already opened, the wreath will look a little browner and be more “sheddy” as the flowers die and fall off. Better to cut the lavender before the buds open so that the wreath retains it color.
e. Snacks, preferably lavender themed: This will take a few hours -- you will want to make sure that you keep your strength up. I would suggest some lavender lemonade, lavender cream cheese with crackers or bread and maybe some lavender lemon shortbread cookies.
Step 2: Cut a ton of lavender
Every time I fill my basket to overflowing with freshly cut lavender, I walk back to the table full of confidence, thinking this time, this time, I have cut just the right amount of lavender for my wreath. In fact, I think, maybe this time I cut too much! So I start envisioning the lovely bundles I will dry with all of the left overs. And every single time, I have to go back into the field to get more lavender. Every. Single. Time. So cut more than you think you will need X 3.
Step 3: Make little lavender bundles. Or not.
Some people like to go through the gigantic pile of lavender and then make fist-sized bundles of lavender. Some do not. I am in the former group -- and I am right. Or maybe I’m not. Who knows. I like to pre-make and line up all of my bundles because I find it a little easier to grab an already made bundle once I start assembling and not have to stop every minute or so to make a new bundle. Note: If you want a bigger wreath, your bundles should have longer stems -- for more compact wreaths the bundles should have shorter stems
Step 4: Start assembling
If you’re in the Portland area, I would highly suggest the Red Ridge Wreath-making classes. in addition to the amazing views and impeccable landscaping at Red Ridge, they have a great gift shop/plant nursery, olive oil tasting and wine tasting (they are home to Oregon Olive Mill and Durant Vineyards). You also get to meet new friends and neighbors --I was lucky to be at the same table as fellow Dundee-ites Kristen, Shannon, and Rebecca, and I had a wonderful conversation with lovely Debra and her cousin visiting from Ireland about bees). Finally, you leave with more knowledge about lavender plants and a beautiful wreath to hang in your home. A great way to spend a summer morning!
In the meantime, get out there with your shears, grab some snacks and start making those bundles!
Hello! My name is Pam Reynolds Baker and I am a mom/wife, English teacher, writer, and lavender farmer who lives in Dundee Oregon .