The original British cassette release included four additional tracks from a John Peel radio session. The original British, Brazilian and Canadian CD releases featured the album, the Peel session and two other tracks that were recorded for an unreleased single, which was to have been the band's first release. The four Peel Session recordings were later released as BBC Sessions in 1999.
A remastered version of "Blind Dumb Deaf" is available on the 2000 compilation Stars and Topsoil. A version of "Hazel" appears on the band's Peppermint Pig EP, released in 1983. A remixed version of "Wax and Wane" was included on the 1985 compilation The Pink Opaque.
A review came from AllMusic, who was generally critical of the album, writing, "Garlands falters due to something the band generally avoided in the future – overt repetition. [...] As a debut effort, though, Garlands makes its own curious mark, preparing the band for greater heights."
From the band's website: "In the end, Garlands was one of the most successful independent recordings of 1982, and peaked in the UK Independent Top Five. In addition to this, the band had received avid support from the BBC Radio 1's John Peel—a significant figure in the early development of Britain's independent music culture in the 1980's."
"The fact of the matter is that the album is bloody good. A fluid frieze of wispy images made all the more haunting by Elizabeth's distilled vocal maturity, fluctuating from a brittle fragility to a voluble dexterity with full range and power." (Helen Fitzgerald, Sounds Magazine, 1982)