How to make a Christmas wreath

There’s no better time to get crafty than at Christmastime. Why not ditch the plastic decorations this year and bring the outdoors in by making your very own festive wreath? To help you get started, our gardener, Fumiko Miyachi, offers her top tips for creating a cracking Christmas showpiece for your home.

As a gardener with a keen interest in all things floristry, I am always on the lookout for seasonal materials to use in our house bouquets. As the bouquets are swapped for wreaths at this time of year, the conifers in the arboretum provide fantastic tones of green, varied shapes, and texture for a wreathe base. Willow is a flexible material that can be used to make the base ring; this is then covered with moss harvested from the garden and secured with raffia. The moss retains moisture and has a perfect consistency for the materials to be inserted into securely. It’s a good idea at this stage to secure a piece of string for hanging the wreath later.

Odd numbers are good when you want a natural, organic look with a sense of coherence – I used five each of eleven different greens for the base. It’s important to know how much material you need before you start cutting; I only cut what I need so I don’t leave a trace of my harvesting in the garden. I also cut each material at a node to promote regrowth of the mother plant and cut the individual pieces at a sharp angle to make it easier to insert into the moss.

Now that the base is made, you can begin to add other features that will pop through the base.  These can be berries, flowers, variegated foliage, or dried materials harvested earlier in the season.  I used Cotoneaster and ivy berries, Skimmia, Hydrangea, Euonymus fortunei and dried honesty seedheads as accents. I love adding a bit of movement with grasses and curly-twirly hazel at the end! Be sure to insert the materials in the same direction to achieve that iconic ‘swirl’ effect.

All you need to do now is pick a good spot for the wreath to hang and remember to mist the moss every now and again to ensure the wreath lasts for as long as possible. When you’re done with it though, it can be composted to feed the soil next season.

If you still have some honesty seedheads left over, these can be made into short garlands to dangle from the ceiling; they look like those icicle lights seen on the streets. They reflect the low light well and bring warm sparkle into your home.

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