Remember THIS POST when I came home with a hamster wheel and 3 little bebes stole it? Well, at some point, they tired of spinning the thing, and I swooped in to make my project. What kind of project did I want to do with an old metal hamster wheel? A 3D living wreath of course!
It took quite a bit of time to get it completed, but the actual process is quite simple. The first thing you must do is make a base for the plants. I used sphagnum moss (not spanish moss!) as the base for the plants to grow in. Basically, you have to soak the bejeebers out of the moss until it is thick and dripping wet and then attach it to both sides of the frame with fishing line or a thin, but strong plastic thread.
Here is a little better view of attaching the moss.
See those little feet over there?
They were helping out a bit ;)
After you have the entire frame covered in moss, you should take the fishing line and wrap it around and around and around again over the entire frame to secure it. Once you feel the base in solid, it is now time to do the fun part! Pick a variety of succulents and start designing! Some succulents with longer stems can actually be woven int the wire framework of the hamster wheel. You have to make sure that they are woven loosely as to not break or crush the stem and the bottom of the stem needs to be firmly in moss, not in the air. Shorter stemmed succulents can be attached into the moss with a bobby pin.
What makes this wreath particularly interesting is the 3D quality. Since the form of the hamster wheel is "thicker", there is more planting space and the entire circle, top, bottom, inside and out can be planted. This is the underside of the wreath when it is placed on a banister. You can even stand it up! you know how hamster wheels are normally oriented vertically? Just use the stand and place your wreath vertically for a 3d centerpiece.
The plants I used are a combination of succulents. This particular plant is actually called 'donkey spurge' or Euphorbia Myrsinites. This plant is great because it is hardy and touch and quite pretty in the spring with lime green growth, HOWEVER it is noxious in some parts of the country where frost does not slow in down and the sap can irritate the skin. I know from experience that the sap can irritate the skin...similar to poison ivy - ick! The sap appears when you break the stems (like when you are making a living wreath) and wherever it touches, you will most likely get a rash. I didn't have too bad of a time with it, but it can be really dangerous for kiddos, so beware! The other downside is that the spurge did not last longer than a few weeks on the wreath while all of the other succulents are still trucking!So the moral of the story is, choose your succulents wisely!
One other great thing about using the hamster wheel instead of a traditional wreath form is that the bar in the middle of the wheel makes an absolutely perfect carrying handle so that you can easily transport your wreath without damaging it.
I leave my wreath on this banister, so it gets rain on a consistent basis.
If you have a drought or keep your wreath indoors, simply soak it with water once every 2 weeks.
If you would like to make a wreath, here are a few links for more information on picking plants!
FANTASTIC SITE for pairings for sedums and other plants. Garden by the Bay.
Now go create something fabulous!!!