06 Aug The Complete Guide to Wearing Plants On Your Head — From Beard Gardens to a DIY Flower Crown
We believe that if you love something, rather than let it go, you should take that thing and wear it on your head.
Flowers are a leading example of this. I wear them any chance I get — including the antique wax orange blossom headpiece I wore to our wedding and the orchidaceous milkmaid braids I sported to last year’s “plant prom.”
So it’s exciting to see floral crowns increasingly out at parties and in the news. “Coachellified” or not — I still love it. Being able to caress a dahlia while I’m dancing equals instant bliss. Did you see the botanical head pieces created at the Port Eliot festival in Cornwall last month? Photographed by Susie “Style Bubble” Lau, they eschewed bohemian heaps of blossoms for slick fronds and sculptural extravagance.
But haloes and wreaths aren’t your only options.
Going to Outside Lands this weekend? Just hoping to wear more of your yard? Check out our guide to affixing horticulture to your head — including beautiful flower beards (that’s right, flower…beards), a quick herbal fix, and instructions for making your own DIY fresh flower crown.
1. Stick herbs behind your ears.
Difficulty level: Easy.
I think I was trying to calm myself down and remember the name of a plant when I snapped off a lavender stem and a rosemary stem from our yard and stuck them behind my ear. (Respectively and aromatherapeutically, they’re associated with serenity and memory.) Stick your favorite herbs behind your ear, and occasionally smoosh them against your temple to get the scent going again. And there you have it: your own mobile relaxation — or energy activating! — room.
2. Cultivate a flower beard. (Commonly known as #flowerbeard.)
Difficulty level: Medium
Well, you’ll need to grow a beard. But once you have one, you can stick blossoms, fern fronds and other outdoor debris into your bristles — and then experience the best day of your life. This trend, covered this summer by news outlet after news outlet after new outlet, was propelled into the mainstream by Pierre Thiot of the Tumblr blog Will It Beard. Here’s the shot of him (whiskered in Indian hawthorn branches, we believe) that started it all.
Artists around the world are exploring hirsute horticulture, with thrilling results. The much-adored portrait above by photographer Ashley Thalman, and styled by Sarah Winward, makes me want to hide Ryan’s clippers.
For inspiration, see what #flowerbeard is yielding on Tumblr and Instagram: [alpine-phototile-for-instagram user=”thehorticult” src=”global_tag” tag=”flowerbeard” imgl=”instagram” dltext=”Instagram” style=”wall” row=”2″ size=”Th” num=”6″ shadow=”1″ highlight=”1″ curve=”1″ align=”left” max=”75″ nocredit=”1″]
3. Stand under a hanging planter.
Difficulty level: Uhh…
Feeling the cool touch of a string of bananas succulent against your cheek — well, there’s nothing like it. Try it the next time you’re looking for shade, or for your next plant selfie.
4. If you don’t want to commit to a full crown, add flowers to a headband or side comb or…
Difficulty level: Easy-to-medium
If you’re going the comb route, we love this floral headpiece how-to on The Alison Show. Or, if you’re in Hawaii, opt for a haku, which is the lei worn around the head. Or braid some blossoms into your hair, and affix with bobby pins.
5. Create a DIY fresh flower crown.
Difficulty level: Medium-to-difficult
Also known a head wreath, a flower crown wraps your head in exuberant blooms and foliage. Muir Ranch taught us that life is too short not to wear flowers on your head — and you can do it in a way that’s leafy and stark, or floral and romantic, or edible (!), or any other style under the sun.
Here’s how to make your own.
Thick gauge flower wire (we use green cloth 22 gauge; the lower the gauge, the thicker the wire)
Flowers with stems cut to about 3 inches long (we used dark purple dahlias, Monte Cassino asters and goldenrod.* We recommend mixing large blooms with smaller, leafier flowers; stems of just foliage; and spiked flowers.)
*Note: Goldenrod gets unfairly blamed for triggering seasonal allergies because it blooms around the same time as allergy-monster ragweed. In fact, goldenrod, a lovely late summer/early fall-blooming wildflower — pollinated by insects and not by wind — is not linked to allergies.
1. Determine the length of wire that will wrap comfortably once around your head. (If wires come up short, augment with smaller pieces, attaching with tape.) Cut a second wire at the same length.
2. To create a sturdy base, tape the two wires together, then bend and tape into circle.
3. Wrap the stems of flowers (in small pairs or individually), leaving a bit of extra tape at the end — about an inch.
4. Using that extra bit of tape, secure flower to base.
5. If you’re using spiked or multi-stemmed flowers and foliage (like goldenrod) gently secure some of the smaller inner stems with a thin a bit of tape. The outer flowers will hide it nicely!
6. Repeat steps 3 through 5. Lay those leafier plants like goldenrod strategically, using them to cover up the tape of single-stemmed additions like dahlias or roses. Cover your whole halo in plants.
7. Have a mirror handy to guide your design. To avoid looking like a flower girl, consider playing around with asymmetrical configurations.
8. When you’re done: put it on and wear with gusto. (But do spritz with water occasionally to keep your blossoms fresh. You could also hang to dry to create a wreath for home.) Feel the floral magic from head to toe.