Today is my birthday, and if there's one day a year when one should be permitted to parade around like a faerie queen, I'd say a birthday is the one. But let's not discriminate. A flower crown fits in as well at summertime picnic as marshmallows and watermelon, so let the flower crowning begin, birthday or no.
Over the weekend I continued with my assignments for Chelsea Fuss's online flower class (more about my exploits here and here), and made myself my first proper flower crown. I admit that I was shocked at how wrongheadedly I'd approached the craft in the past. (This is not to knock the countless dandelion crowns I strung together as a child. Those versions have their proper place in flower crown history and the technique used there will not be critiqued by me.)
But when I'd been trying to recreate some of the beautiful flower crowns I've been seeing floating on the sites of the Internet's own faerie queens, my approach had been wrong. I'd left my stems long. I hadn't started with a proper frame. I'd gone for flowers that were large and floppy over feathery and linear. And then came Chelsea to the rescue.
Photographs by Erin Boyle, unless otherwise noted.
To begin my crown, I chose three flowers that were as close to wild looking as I could find in a big city. From the bodega down the street, I bought goldenrod and sea lavender, and from the garden I've been trying to maintain in the front of my building, I plucked stems of gooseneck loosestrife. It's not often that I get the chance to snip from gardens in the city, and I relished the six or so clips I got to make.
If you have the space and you're interested in sowing seeds of your own, you can find a packets of Sea Lavender Flower Seed and Goldenrod Seeds for $4.99 at Outside Pride. A pot of Gooseneck Loosestrife ships in the fall for $7.95 from Bluestone Perennials.
In the past when I've tried to make flower crowns, I've wanted them to be lush and leafy, and so I've largely left leaves attached. Chelsea taught us that less is more in the leaf department, and so I stripped my stems.
Chelsea's the real expert when it comes to technique (see below for details on how to sign up for her class), but I was surprised to learn that a flower crown is basically a meeting of many tiny bouquets.
I wanted the loosestrife to hang decoratively from my crown, so I left some of it longer as I added flowers to the wire and tape frame I had made.
Adding the final miniature bouquet was my biggest challenge, and I was lucky to have the chance to email Chelsea for emergency advice.
Above: Photograph by James Casey.
Here's a closeup of the crown in action, loosey-goosey gooseneck loosestrife and all.
Photograph by James Casey.
If you're interested in signing up for the class, Chelsea's Floral Arranging 101 is offered online through Nicole's Classes. A four-week class costs $125 plus the cost of floral supplies. For more beautiful examples of student work, see Chelsea's blog, Frolic.