A Purple Potato Wreath? Yes, and More Edible Decor From a White House Floral Designer

Check out how designer Laura Dowling layers lush blooms with colorful fruits and veggies to create wreaths that look delicious but are just too pretty to eat.

Photo By: Laura Dowling and Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling and Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling and Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling and Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling and Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling and Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling and Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling and Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling and Stichting Kunstboek

Photo By: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Purple Potatoes and Black Cherries

These projects are courtesy of Laura Dowling’s new book Wreaths With How-to Tutorials. Like a floral arrangement, these wreaths will last several days to a couple of weeks depending on the produce and the weather. Most of these wreaths start with a layer of ruched ribbon which is ribbon made into looped strands using bullion wire, click here for instructions.

Purple or red potatoes can be used to make this cheerful display. To make this wreath, a garland of ruched ribbon is wrapped around the form. The potatoes were strung together in sets of three with straight wire then fastened to the form until it was completely covered. The cherries were wired together on wood picks then inserted throughout the potatoes. Wild sweet pea vines - cut into 10" to 12" lengths - and wild roses inserted in water picks are then mixed into the potatoes.

Peppers, Apples and Okra

Virginia bluebell - a hardy perennial - is mixed with banana peppers, chili peppers, green apples and okra pods to create a stunning arrangement. The wreath was made by first wrapping the form in a base layer of ruched ribbon. Apples are paired together on a straight wire then several pairs are laid (evenly spaced) across the wreath form and secured from the back with wire. The same process is used for both types of peppers and the okra. The bluebells are inserted in water picks and placed in and around the wreath so that they float above the apples and peppers. As a finishing touch, sprigs of ivy fill the voids.

Mandarin Oranges and Habanero Peppers

This mandarin orange wreath will lend a refreshing citrus scent in the middle of winter when it's needed most. To make this wreath, the form is covered in ruched ribbon garland. Four oranges are strung together with straight wire then secured to the form until it is entirely covered. Five to six habanaro peppers are laced together with paddle wire then wrapped around the form. As a finishing touch, pieces of Italian ruscus are wired onto wood picks and inserted in between the oranges and peppers.

Turnips, Black Cherries and Purple Cabbage

When mixed with purple vegetables, including cabbages and turnips, the purple orchid takes on a regal yet funky tone. To make this wreath, a base layer of purple ruched ribbon is wrapped around the form. Heavy straight wire is used to pierce the cabbages then they are positioned evenly around the wreath form, tying the wires in the back. Pairs of turnips are strung together using heavy-gauge straight wire then wrapped across the form, adjacent to the cabbages until the entire wreath is covered. Five or six black cherries are strung together with thinner straight wire, then placed over the top of the cabbages and turnips. Dendrobium orchids were cut into small pieces, inserted in water picks then added to the wreath.

Green Apples

This late winter wreath pairs green hellebores (aka - Lenten rose) with green apples for a fanciful ring of green. To start, the wreath form was wrapped in emerald green ruched ribbon. Sets of three apples are strung together and wired onto the wreath form until it is entirely covered. Wire sprigs of variegated Israeli ruscus and eucalyptus are inserted in and around the wreath. The hellebore is inserted in water picks then added to the wreath to float above the apples and greenery.

Purple Potatoes and Crabapples

Here’s another spud-based wreath that can be made with either purple or red potatoes. This version is mixed with crabapples (you can use faux ones), heather and nandina foliage with berries. The wreath is first wrapped in a layer of purple ruched ribbon. The potatoes are strung together in sets of five then each set is secured to the wreath form. A little space is left in between each potato so the ribbon shows through. Crabapples are strung together in sets of four to five and attached to the form with wire. Nandina foliage cut into 6" to 8" pieces are wired to wood picks then inserted in and around the wreath, focusing on the inner and outer edges.

Purple Eggplants, Peppers and Grapes

Purple produce mixed with orchids and green hydrangeas make a color palette that is perfect for Mardi Gras or any time of the year. To make the wreath, the form is wrapped in a layer of ruched ribbon then bunches of grapes are secured onto the form using floral paddle wire. Purple bell peppers are pierced with a straight wire and attached evenly around the form. The eggplants (aubergines) are bundled together in sets of two with straight wire then secured to the form. Sprigs of blue/green hydrangea and orchids are placed in water picks and inserted all around the eggplant and peppers. Chinaberries are stacked on wood picks and used to fill the voids. As a finishing touch, strands of ivy are tucked around the inside and outside edges.

Plums, Tomatoes, Cherries and Wildflowers

This late summer beauty is inspired by the wildflower prairies and meadows of the Great Plains. It uses wild plums, chokeberries and wild grapes to create the striking color palette. To start, a base layer of ruched ribbon wraps the form. Garlands of plums are placed along the wreath form and secured in the back with wire. Grape tomatoes are strung together and wrapped across the plum garlands until the entire wreath is covered. Black cherries are pierced onto wood picks then inserted in and around the wreath, including the inside and outside borders. Small bunches of wildflowers (three to four stems) are inserted into water picks then dispersed evenly throughout the wreath.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts not only go well with bacon, they also make a fantastic decoration for your front door. To make this wreath, the form is first covered in ruched ribbon. Sets of six brussel sprouts are strung on straight wire to create garlands that are wrapped around the wreath form until it’s completely covered. Variegated holly cut into 6" pieces is wired onto wood picks then inserted in between the sprouts, focusing on the outer and inside edges. As a finishing touch, small pieces of hypericum berries in water picks are inserted evenly around the wreath.

Cranberries and Pinecones

To make this winter holiday wreath, floral wire is used to create separate garlands of pinecones, magnolia pods and cranberries. The garlands are then wrapped around the wreath form and secured in the back with wire. Holly leaves are tucked in between the garlands and secured with cold glue. To add a spin to this design, paint the pinecones white to resemble snow or dip them in gold paint or glitter for an opulent effect.

Strawberries, Grapes and Cherry Tomatoes

Made from fresh fruit and green ivy, this wreath can also be used as an edible arrangement by using wood skewers and toothpicks to attach the fruit to the wreath. (Maybe use it as a centerpiece with a pot of chocolate fondue in the middle!) In cool weather, the wreath will last about five days. For a long-lasting design, use faux fruit and flowers, but layer in a few fresh pieces to give an overall natural feeling.

Carrots and Habanero Peppers

A mix of carrots and habaneros would make a great hot sauce, but here they make a vibrant front door display. To start, bark wire is wrapped around a straw wreath form. Evergreen/fir cuttings are tied into small bundles using bullion wire. Working in horizontal rows, the bundles are secured to the form with paddle wire until the entire surface is covered. Straight wire is used to pierce through the middle of six to seven carrots making multiple strands. The carrot garlands are wrapped around the form and secured from the back. Five to six habanero peppers are strung together with paddle wire, then working in rows, the habanero garlands are fastened to the form. Insert berries and ivy around the inner and outer edges to fill the voids. TIP: When working with hot peppers, it’s a good idea to wear gloves to protect skin and eyes from irritation.

Limes

This wreath is pretty any time of the year, but against a red door or on a red brick mantel it makes the perfect holiday decoration. To craft this wreath, a base layer of emerald green ribbon ruched ribbon is wrapped around the form. Multiple garlands of four limes are strung together with straight wire then wrapped around the form until it is completely covered. Sprigs of red and green berries are twisted together with wire and wood picks then inserted in the form to fill the voids. As a finishing touch, sprigs of green holly are added all around.

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