One of the simplest and most rewarding activities to bring in some holiday cheer this time of year is to make your own wreath. You can go to local garden centers and take a wreath-making workshop, or buy a pre-made wreath. But I like to construct my own wreath made from materials around my home.
Using native materials is satisfying, and forces you to build different wreathes based on the year.
For example, some years you'll have lots of berries, while other years they may be sparse.
To get started, purchase a wreath metal ring.
Decide if you want an evergreen wreath, twig wreath, or a combination of both! Evergreens have different feels to them. Pine gives a soft feel, while spruce, fir, and hemlock have a more classic holiday texture.
Cut eight-inch-long branches, and tie them to the ring with wire. Work around the ring -- overlapping, so no bare branches or wire are showing.
For a twig wreath, choose grape vines, American bittersweet (avoid oriental bittersweet because the berries can spread this invasive plant), willow, or any other pliable twigs you have. Use the same technique for attaching them to the ring.
Now that you have your base, add decorative touches.
Use bright berries of holly, native dogwood, and viburnums to brighten the wreath.
Try spent flower heads of ornamental grasses, milkweed pods, and meadowsweet to add a softer, natural touch. Add pine cones, dried flowers, broadleaf evergreen branches, and old flower seed heads. The list is only limited by what you have.
Evergreen wreaths will last for months, and twig wreaths for years, depending on your materials.
Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about gifts for gardeners. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.