Turn your garden's summer flowers into a lei-style hatband

Ann Bertelsen,  – September 2, 2004

Before you throw out that old straw hat, try freshening it up for summer garden parties. Using flowers from your own garden or a market, you can create a colorful hatband like the one pictured at left. Long-lasting blooms such as sunflowers, carnations, and daisies are best for this use; fragile beauties like roses will wilt before their romance has a chance to blossom. Statice, yarrow, and chrysanthemums, mixed with leathery greens such as sword fern, are other good choices.

TIME: Less than an hour

DESIGN: Françoise Kirkman


• Garden shears or sharp scissors

• Fresh flowers and ferns

• Raffia

• A straw hat


1. Cut flowers and ferns, leaving the stems long enough to bundle. Separate the flowers into bunches by color. Cut several strands of raffia long enough to go around the hat’s crown as well as wrap around the flower bundles; knot the strands together at one end.

2. Starting about 6 inches from the knotted end, twist the raffia several times around the stems of one bunch. Repeat the process with flower bunches of different colors.

3. Work your way down the length of the raffia–adding large pieces such as sunflowers to a few of the bunches–until you have enough floral bouquets to encircle the hat’s crown.

4. Tie the two ends of raffia together around the crown and tuck loose strands of raffia beneath the flowers. Slip the finished hat into a plastic bag and store it in your refrigerator. The flowers shown here stayed fresh-looking for several days.