Have you seen those amazing wreaths you can buy for hundreds of dollars? Why not make your own fancy pants wreath!?
If you follow the Countryside Romantic Instagram account (/countryside_romantic/), you know that I’ve been obsessing over my lambs ear. I can’t stop petting it! If you’ve never heard of lambs ear, as I hadn’t one year ago, then let me fill you in a bit.
Lambs ear’s Latin name is stachys byzantina, and it is part of an herbal family that is among the oldest plants used for healing. Lambs ear is used as a natural antiseptic bandage for cuts. When bruised and boiled, the water is used to treat infections like pink eye. A tea made from baby lambs eat leaves can be used for fevers, diarrhea, sore throat, weaknesses of the liver and heart, and to help with postpartum depression.
It’s incredibly edible and soft, to go along with its healing abilities, making it one of the most utilitarian plants a gardener can grow. It also puts out an absolutely superb stem of purple flowers (which bees flipping love) all throughout the spring and summer months. But one of the main qualities people love about lambs ear is its incredible beauty.
I have been using my little bunch of lambs ear to create some freaking gorgeous wreaths, if I do say so myself. A quality that makes this plant perfect for wreath-making is that it grows like crazy. The more I cut it back, the more leaves it produces. As one row of leaves dries, another fresh crop emerges with soft, downy fuzz.
So. Get yourself some lambs ear, and use these instructions to craft some magnificent wreaths that will dry out into beauties you can treasure as holiday or just everyday decor, perfect for the fall and winter months.
Foam wreath form(s)
First only harvest leaves that are 4 or more inches in length. These will serve as your base. If you are not harvesting the leaves yourself, then sort out your leaves into three piles from largest to smallest. You will use these biggest leaves first to complete a base. Use the pins at both the base of the leaf, and the tip. The leaves should be overlapped to the middle of the last leaf placed. This allows for the leaves to shrink as they dry, while still ensuring an overlap without gaps.
You can play around with what sort of pattern and placement you use, but I have found beginning with using the largest leaves to cover the outer edge of the wreath first to be very effective.
Then put down a row of your medium length pile. Do the same amount of overlap, and place them so that they cover what will be the top or front of the wreath form as it will lay on your door or table. This should cover about half of the first row of largest leaves. The tips of this layer’s leaves should lie at the edges of the largest leaves. Make sure you pin the tips next to the top edge, so there is room for it to shrink. You could also play around with this by simply switching up the direction you lay the leaves: if your first layer went clockwise, you could make your second layer go around counterclockwise.
For your final layer, use the smallest pile to do the same thing you did with the medium sized pile. You could do several layers of the smallest pile if you so chose. Just make sure that all of the green wreath form is covered on the inside of the wreath.
Allow your wreath to dry in a well ventilated area, away from direct sun. You can create an anti-bacterial spray from essential oils to ensure no molding occurs; this spray would also add a nice scent to your wreath! I used tea tree oil and clove oil with just enough water to get it to move through my sprayer. The jury is out on how long these can last, but if dried correctly, it could be a darn long time!
More that you could add: a loop of red ribbon with a big bow or bells for the holidays, or you could add in sage leaves or mint to create more texture. I will be using these as table pieces at an event soon, which I will be sure to show y’all the results of, so I will be using candles in the middle and adding more foliage to spill out of the center!