Dawson said she spins into wreaths many plants people consider a nuisance, like wild teasel. Its prickly head makes a beautiful addition to a wreath. Other native plants and invasive species she uses are milkweed, cattails, sweet pea, wild baby’s breath and yarrow.
Patc Dawson makes her living putting a twist on North State flora.
She uses plants that grow wild around Siskiyou County to fashion seasonal wreaths, including a spring wreath for Mother's Day.
Through her business, Dawson Wreath Barn in Weed, she and her staff of five usually sell thousands of seasonal wreaths year-round — 4,200 last Christmas, she said. They deliver in Weed and the surrounding area, and have shipped wreaths across the U.S. and to military bases abroad.
But when the COVID-19 crisis closed her store along with other businesses deemed non-essential, Dawson became a one-woman operation. “I still had wreath obligations,” about ten of which were Easter orders from regular customers, she said. So she made them herself, boxed and mailed some, and delivered the others to customers' front porches.
Business is quiet, but orders trickle in over the phone and online, especially for Mother's Day, she said. For the latter, Dawson wove purple lupin into her signature spring woodland wreaths — green with pink flowers that incorporate pussy willows, sage, blooming manzanita and scotch broom.
Collecting the plants used in wreaths is family time for Dawson, and a way to get outdoors while practicing social distancing, she said. She, her children and grandchildren cut greens and flowers with the approval of property owners.
Dawson said she spins into wreaths many plants people consider a nuisance, like wild teasel. Its prickly head makes a beautiful addition to a wreath.
Other native plants and invasive species she uses are milkweed, cattails, sweet pea, wild baby’s breath and yarrow.
Another medium she uses: Barbed wire. Dawson weaves Western-style objects, like horseshoes and bandanas, into barbed-wire rings for custom wreaths.
Dawson loved making wreaths since she was a child. “If it was long, I’d make it into a wreath — rose vines, anything. I was obsessed with circles.”
Dawson started selling wreaths at Christmas in 1984, using a pedal-operated machine in her garage. “I made ten, just enough to buy my kids some Christmas presents,” she said.
It became a family holiday tradition as well as a business. Her four children earned Christmas money selling wreaths to neighbors. “They used to put them in their red wagon and pull them around,” she said.
Business “took off" when she began to provide wreaths wholesale for school and other fundraisers, she said. Her holiday business outgrew her garage, so Dawson rented a vacant building in Weed for eight weeks each year, and hired staff to make the Christmas wreaths.
In 2011, Dawson retired from Weed Elementary School where she was a classroom aid. Now she sells wreaths, garland and other swags year round out of her gift shop and florist on Weed Boulevard. Her creations ship as far as Afghanistan, she said. I have "gotten a lot of pictures and letters (from soldiers) who received wreaths."
About Dawson Wreath Barn, Florist and Gift Shop
Information: Dawson’s signature 22” seasonal wreaths are $40 each. Barbed wire wreaths start at $40. The shop is closed during the COVID-19 shut down. Until then, phone orders for porch delivery and mail orders are accepted.
Address: 142 S. Weed Blvd. in Weed.
Phone: Call 938-8824.
Online: Go to www.dawsonwreathbarn.com.
Jessica Skropanic is features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers lifestyle and entertainment stories, and weekly arts.