Decorate With Nature's Silver

Create this living wreath to make the season sparkle.
Ellen Ruoff Riley

Winter's shades differ from the classic holiday red-and-green color palette. Soft silver tones turn up on a frosty morning in bare tree branches and in the ruffled leaves of annual dusty miller (Senecio cineraria).

This rugged plant takes cold weather in stride and stays compact throughout winter, making it a great choice for a living wreath. Put together this quick, easy project, and dress it up for the holidays. Place your wreath on a surface that will not be damaged by moisture, or lean it against a window frame. Then enjoy it until warm weather takes its toll in late spring.

Here's How
Purchase a tray of dusty miller (18 per tray); choose bushy, compact plants. We used a 20-inch metal wreath form that comes with a top. Find these at crafts stores and nurseries, or order one online from www.kinsmangarden.com (item #GLWM).

  • Line the circular form with decorative sheet moss. Cover the bottom and sides completely, and fill the trough half full with moist potting soil.
  • Place the plants in the form, tipping those on the outside edge on their sides, so foliage extends beyond the form. Place root balls close together―touching is okay―to produce an instantly pretty wreath.
  • Surround the plants with additional potting mix, and top it with moss. Gently work the form's top over the foliage, and snap it together. This holds the contents in place when the wreath is standing up.
  • Water the wreath, and allow it to drip before putting it in place. Provide at least three hours of direct sun, and give it additional moisture when it becomes dry.

"Decorate With Nature's Silver" is from the December 2007 issue of Southern Living.