At Clifford Barton wreath making has always been a family activity and it’s usually the first Christmassy thing we do in early December to decorate our door and those of Clifford Barton’s Dartmoor holiday cottages. It’s an activity I always look forward to.
It’s really easy, so if you fancy making a Christmas Wreath here are the things you’ll need:
• Evergreen vegetation
• Christmas music,
• Mulled wine/mince pies
• Metal wreath
First gather all your vegetation – 4 or 5 different varieties* of evergreen plant. Holly**, ivy (not the female leaves as they soon droop), spruce, fir, ivy flowers, bay, laurel are all good. Cut them so the stalks are about 10cm -20cm long.
Next empty your vegetation into different piles, make some mulled cider (if in Devon, at least), warm up mince pies and put some Christmas music on to get yourselves into the Christmas spirit.
Start by laying out bunches with the same number of sprigs of each plant in each bunch. You’ll need between 10 and 15 bunches, depending on the size of your wreath. The bushier material should be placed at the back with the holly berries and ivy flowers on top so they look like little bouquets.
Cut wire into 15cm lengths and wrap tightly around the bottom of the stems of each bunch in turn and twist at the back. Place the first bunch on the wire ring and attach it to the ring using the wire to keep in place. You may need an additional piece of wire to make it secure.
Do the same with the next bunch and lay it next to the first bunch so there is some overlap. Repeat as you work your way around the ring until the last bunch can be tucked in and wired on to complete the circle.
You can add a bow to your wreath or wire in dried orange segments , pine cones, battery powered fairy lights, or whatever takes your fancy.
And there you have your beautiful home made Christmas Wreath that will last until well after Christmas, when you can hang it in the garden and let the birds have the holly berries, temporarily borrowed from them, back. Have fun!
*If you’re very organized and you are not sure if one of your garden shrubs is suitable you may want to pick it a couple of weeks earlier as a test and see what happens to it over time. If it dries up or wilts then don’t use it, as it won’t look great in your wreath. I’ve made this mistake before.
**Holly Tip – When it’s time to gather your vegetation the holly bushes that were so laden with berries early in the season are often bare. I usually pick holly with berries mid November before the birds have a chance to strip them and store it in a black bin bag in a coo