lime wreath

Laura Dowling shares step-by-step instructions for this lime wreath with holly and berries

In the 18th century, Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia was a popular gathering place for our fledgling nation’s political elite where patrons debated important issues of the day over a frothy tankard of ale. Among his numerous innovations and contributions to our country, George Washington is also known for introducing rum punch to America and his favorite local watering hole–a citrusy sweet, yet robust concoction reportedly discovered on his trip to Barbados in 1751. The General apparently returned to Virginia with a stockpile of rum, later distilling it at Mount Vernon. Today, Gadsby’s Tavern celebrates George Washington–and this Caribbean elixir—with an annual rum punch recipe contest. This lime wreath, hanging a stone’s throw away from Gadsby’s Tavern, pays homage to this interesting colonial tradition.

What You’ll Need

TOOLS:

  • Bark wire
  • Bullion wire
  • Straight wire (thinner gauge)
  • Clippers
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • 6-inch wired wood picks

MATERIALS:

  • 1 18-inch grapevine wreath
  • 1 roll of 1 ½-inch emerald green ribbon
  • 100 limes
  • 1 bunch seasonal red berries (e.g., ilex, holly or hypericum)
  • 1 bunch green hypericum berries
  • 1 bunch of green or variegated holly

How-To Instructions

lime wreath

A base layer of emerald green ribbon covers the grapevine wreath and creates a textured backdrop.

1. Wrap the bark wire around the wreath, doubling it,to create a loop for hanging.
2. Create a base layer of emerald green ribbon using the ruched ribbon technique. [See the How-To]
3. With the straight wire, string 4 limes together, laying the lime garland across the wreath.
4. Wrap the wire ends to the back, twisting them together to secure tightly. Clip the excess wire.
5. Working in rows, continue adding garlands of limes in this manner until the entire wreath is covered.
6. Cut sprigs of red berries and wire them to the wood picks.
7. Working side to side, insert the red and green berries in and around the wreath to cover the entire surface.
8. As a finishing touch, add sprigs of green holly using the wired wood picks.

Design Note: Although this wreath has universal seasonal appeal, the colors are most striking on a white or red door.

For each of the designs in her book, Dowling provides keys for level of difficulty and how long you can expect the wreath to last. This lime wreath is medium difficulty and should last 5-7 days.

“I think it’s time to reinvent the wreath as a decorative and symbolic element, make it striking again, and elevate it from blasé to having je ne sais quoi and chic cachet.”—Laura Dowling in Wreaths: With How-To Tutorials


laura dowling wreaths book

Excerpt from Wreaths: With How-To Tutorials by Laura Dowling (Stichting Kunstboak, 2018)

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