This is the base for this year's Sweet Annie Autumn wreath. I'll add more berries and herbs as they are ready to harvest from my yard.
Until then, Sweet Annie can hang out with the dragonfly and copper bird feeder I got at the Sugarloaf Craft Festival several years before I moved to Baltimore.
Complete instructions for harvesting and creating your own Sweet Annie - or other herbal wreath base - are below in posts from two years ago. Harvesting Sweet Annie and making herbal wreaths is an annual event
Today I harvested my Sweet Annie and my house smells divine! This next two posts are from two years ago - they give instructions on harvesting, drying and making a wreath for a base. This works with lots of herbs - sage, rosemary, artemisia silver king, thyme . . . so if you have some herbs to harvest, I hope you'll find this helpful!
After a summer of watching her grow and hugging her every time I walked past her in the garden, my Sweet Annie's tiny golden balls indicate that she is ready to be harvested!
She'll be wonderful for fall arrangements, wreaths and swags. Her golden color adds a perfect warmth to autumn decor!
Be sure to cut her in the morning and after the dew has dried. Inspire of her delicate look, her branches become thick and hardened so you'll need heavy garden shears. Cut close to the ground and leave one of the lowest branches on the plant so it can develop seeds for your next year's garden. Sweet Annie is an annual and grows easily from seed. Actually, your challenge will be in having too many plants since you'll only need a few for personal use. This harvest is from three plants and you can see how prolific she is. You can always share!
Oh, one word of caution. Occasionally there are people who are sensitive to her fragrance and develop allergies and headaches. And I've heard of people developing a rash similar to poison ivy if they are allergic, but have never spoken with anyone who experienced problems.
Sweet Annie is happiest drying in a dark area. Drying time varies from one week to several. I'll keep you posted on how mine dries and I usually begin making my arrangements and wreaths before she is brittle. More to come!
If you want to keep her looking fresh and retaining more of a green color, you can use glycerin. Mix one part glycerin to three or four parts of water and stand her in a vase to absorb it. Glycerin is expensive and this is most practical for small batches. Either way is a lovely option!
My home is filled with light, which I love, but one of my challenges is finding a place out of direct sunlight to for the drying process. Here she is in my hallway, filling the upstairs with her delightful fragrance! She's delighted me all summer and will continue into fall and winter!
The miracle of a single seed never ceases to amaze me!
My Sweet Annie dried much more quickly than expected. I brought it in on the 10th and yesterday when I checked I was surprised to see it was at the right stage to make arrangements. It only took four days! I put everything else on hold to work with her for a couple of hours, and she is finished and ready for more herbs and berries to be added. The rowan and beauty berries are still in the garden and not quite ready. The secret of beautiful herbal wreaths is layering.
The wreath is layered with 5 to 6 inch bunches of herbs, and each one is attached with u shaped floral pins.
There were two very distinct color differences in the herb so I worked that into the design in layers around the wreath. You could also mix them in the small bunches if you prefer.
I began with a ring of the green leaves around the center of the straw base.
This shows the completion of the layer of green, with the addition of the more golden bunches being added towards the center of the wreath.
My Sweet Annie wreath is now inside and waiting to be embellished with more treasures from the garden. She will continue to share her beauty and fragrance for many years to come!
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!