Decking the Halls with a Native Plant Wreath

Posted on Posted in Island Living
native plant wreath
Dewees Island Ferry Dock wreaths

The ferry dock was sporting these gorgeous wreaths this week.  I went for a closer look, and discovered this native plant wreath, a lovely mix of Spanish Moss, Yaupon, American Holly, Eastern Red Cedar, and grapevine.  I asked Catherine, the island administrator, who was responsible, and she gave Lori the credit for the idea but said they had a great day of arts and crafts on Friday.  Here in the coastal South, we don’t have fir trees growing naturally (the one in my living room came from North Carolina) but we have Eastern Red Cedar, which often grows in the traditional Christmas tree shape.

Lori and Catherine were generous enough to demonstrate for me, so I went over to have them teach me.  Lori says the hardest part is gathering the materials.  All of these plants are native to Dewees Island, so I went out to find some.  Then she showed me how to weave a grapevine wreath, and put the wreath together:

Lori and Catherine working on wreaths
Lori also has this to share about the plants used in this project: for even more information, click the photos:

 

 

Vitis sp. – Grape
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Fruit food source for white-tailed deer, raccoon and birds such as northern cardinal, northern mocking bird and cedar waxwing.  -+Grape leaves forage for White-tailed deer.

 

Tillandsia usneoides – Spanish Moss

spanish moss

Provides cover for wildlife such as bats, spiders, snakes and birds.  Birds will use Spanish Moss to build or conceal their nests and some species will make their nests in the actual hanging clumps of moss.  Larger birds such as egrets will use Spanish Moss for nest bedding.

 

Ilex opaca & I. vomitoria – American Holly & Yaupon Holly

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Fruits consumed by Cedar Waxwings, Brown Thrasher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Mockingbird and Blue Jays as well as Raccoons.  Since the fruits persist on the plants into the winter they are an important winter food source for songbirds.  Ilex opaca fruits are consumed by White-tailed deer.  The dense foliage provides cover and nesting habitat for songbirds.

 

 

Juniperus virginiana – Eastern Red Cedar

red cedar

Provides nesting material and cover.  Fruit consumed by songbirds such as cedar waxwing and small mammals such as rabbit and raccoons.  Dense thickets provide cover for deer.  Eastern Red Cedar trees help protect soils from wind erosion.

 

 

Source:

Forest Plants of the Southeast and their wildlife uses by James H. Miller & Karl V. Miller

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, wildflower.org