Monday, June 6, 2016

Making of a Magnolia Wreath for Memorial Day Remembrance Service

The Prattville Dragoons were invited to participate in a Remembrance Service for Memorial Day at Montgomery's Trinity Presbyterian Church on Sunday May 29th.  Part of the program entailed placing a memorial wreath to honor the American soldiers which each organization represented. It was suggested that lemon or magnolia leaf wreaths with a banner if desired be made for placement.  Some organizations chose to use silk arrangements but Commander Waldo of Camp 1524 had designs to make a fresh magnolia leaf wreath.  These wreaths can cost upwards of $100 from a florist but with magnolia trees blossoming in Alabama here in late spring, the greenery and even buds and flowers from these trees are readily available for making your own.  There are step by step instructions online including even instructional videos for assembling a magnolia leaf wreath.  Some of the wreaths online looked great, others perhaps not so much and the attractiveness seemed to be directly proportional to the amount of time required in the assembly. There appear to be two schools of thought for magnolia wreaths, those utilizing just the large waxy leaves, and those using short branch ends from the tree.  Inspecting those florist pieces at the Memorial Day service including the artificial ones, these all seemed to be of the leaf arrangements which provided a more uniform layered appearance.  These instructions are for a branch wreath arrangement as a first effort which provides a more rustic, less structured appearance.
Materials - trash bag full of magnolia branches (about 10" lengths), a 28" wire form, 24 gage florist wire and wire cutters.

Wire each branch to wire form in two spots, adding more branches to fill laying each the same direction. 

All branches wired to the form about the circumference. Add smaller bits to fill to cover form from view.

Smaller leafed branches were used first and then 8-10 larger leafed branches including one with a flower were added equally spaced.  

Finished wreath with the flower on the left and a bud on the right. 

Added four mini-Battle Flags. Note within 24 hours of making the arrangement the flower was wilted and browned to the extent it was removed before the service. Otherwise the thick waxy leaves of the magnolia last for a nice while and can even be used as a dried arrangement. 

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