Put a little spring on your doorstep

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published March 9, 2016

 Case said wreaths with big, bright blooms can go right from spring into summer.

Case said wreaths with big, bright blooms can go right from spring into summer.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


METRO DETROIT — There’s nothing like a wreath on the front door to meet your guests with a cheerful greeting.

But for some, Christmastime is the only season the door is treated to any kind of embellishment. And that’s a shame, because there are so many options to choose from when it comes to buying — or even creating — a springtime wreath.

Kris Case, owner of Della’s Maple Lane Florist in Troy, is busy building lots of spring-themed wreaths and other arrangements with colorful artificial flowers. The wreaths are a big seller each spring, particularly around Mother’s Day.

What’s her secret to creating the perfect wreath? She said choosing flowers that you love, and not the ones that are necessarily indicative of the season.

“It’s more about colors than the flower types, because color is what makes spring,” said Case. “A lot of people think of tulips and daffodils, but those are really too small for a wreath.”

A winning combination, according to Case, could be perhaps a peach-colored rose and a lavender mum, even though mums are really more of a fall bloom. Those pastels would make for a beautiful spring wreath, or you could go brighter to create a wreath that will last right into summer.

“Roses are good, and lilies,” she said. “You want more open flowers — Fuji mums, things like that.”

Once you’ve chosen your flowers, the next step is to decide what kind of arrangement you want for a wreath. Do you want something a little more asymmetrical with a grouping of flowers, or something that covers your entire wreath base with color? Again, Case said the beauty is all in the eye of the beholder.

“I start with putting my greens or filler — the smaller flowers — on first,” she explained. “And then I place bigger flowers on after that in focal points.”

Case adheres flowers to a wreath base, usually made of Styrofoam or grapevine for a more rustic look, with hot glue. Since her team makes lots of artificial flower arrangements all year long, she uses an electric frying pan to melt the glue into a pool so she can dip stems in and stick them right into place. But a hot glue gun or even cold glue would do the trick too.

That pan glue tends to be a little more sticky, according to Robbin Yelverton, certified florist and member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. He’s the co-owner of Blumz…by JRDesigns in Ferndale and Detroit, and he said he leans more toward the pan when he’s designing wreaths and other permanent arrangements, particularly those with dried flowers.

Over the years, Yelverton said Michiganders haven’t been particularly fond of dried flower arrangements, since we spend so much time cooped up indoors during the winter and customers tend to want bright, fresh-looking florals. But the colonial, primitive look is catching on in this region.

“The younger crowd is very much into live flowers more than any sort of permanent or dried arrangement, but it when it comes to wreaths they’ll make an exception,” Yelverton said.

In fact, Blumz is gearing up for a primitive-themed show in the next few weeks, and Yelverton has plans for lots of dried arrangements to satisfy spring-minded customers.

“When I think spring, I think something that looks more fragile and wispy. Not something that’s grown all summer long and has a hardy, sturdy stem,” he explained. “Baby’s breath, eucalyptus, lavender, either by the bundle or incorporated as individual stems, would work. Also, grasses and mosses; lichen-covered branches would look very springy. Think of branches that are not heavily leafed out.”

The trick to any wreath, but particularly a dried-flower wreath, is to protect it as best you can from the elements. Sunlight can discolor blooms, while wind or moisture can deteriorate fragile stems.