How to Make a Christmas Wreath
Extracted from The Virgin Gardener by Laetitia Maklouf
This not just for the realm of the ultra-organised. Wreaths are deliciously easy to make and welcome you in to your own home after a long day at work, which is delightfully self-respecting and cheery
YOU WILL NEED: A good armful of evergreen foliage. This could, of course, be holly, but pine, cedar, fir, juniper, box, bay, eucalyptus, sage and even magnolia or camellia are all possibilities. Either get this from a flower market or your own garden, or beg from a kind neighbour.
Strong scissors or secateurs
A roll of thin wire – like copper but preferably black or green.
A wreath form – available from some florists, markets and art or DIY stores – or you could make your own, like I do, using think wire, fastening the ends with thin wire.
METHOD: First you have to make lots of little sprigs our of your greenery. Snap off small pieces of foliage – 10-15cm long and wire them together into a think little bundle. Make lots of these bundles and then begin adding them to your wreath by laying each bundle along the length of the wreath from and tightly wrapping it with wire from halfway up its length to the bottom. Don’t cut the wire, but add another bundle, using the top of this second bundle to hide the bottom half of the previous one, and carry on winding the wire around this bundle until you reach the bottom of it, at which pint add another and so on until you have covered everything. This is your basic wreath and you can either adulterate if with whatever turns you on or leave it as it is.
MY FAVOURITE ADORNMENTS: Obviously berries are a must for some, and you can go down the classic route with holly or pyracantha berries, or use something else, such as rosehips. If you want to branch out a little, I suggest glass beads threaded onto wire, fruit such as dried citrus or pomegranates, kumquats, flowers poked into the foliage such as amaryllis, or anything blowsy that you can get from the garage, or nuts and acorns – either au naturel or sprayed gold or silver (bore holes in these with a very fine drill bit, and thread the wire through before attaching to the wreath) … You get the idea: once you have the basic wreath, the sky’s the limit.
Lastly, it’s sometimes nice to spray the whole thing white or silver with some florists spray to give it a snowy feel.
AND MORE: You can create garlands and swags in exactly the same way, either by making a frame out of the wire or – much simpler – by wiring your foliage to a length of rope that you’ve swagged around you fireplace or wherever. It’s lovely to do this with a aromatic foliage like bay, to get a nice heady fug going.
The Virgin Gardener is wonderful inspiration for novice gardeners and those who’ve never really considered the delights of growing plants. It’s full of ideas, tips and ‘recipes’ for things to grow and ways to display flowers and plants. A truly delightful book will work as well as a hard working reference book as a bath-time inspirational read. We highly recommend it. Laetitia Maklouf is our newest Expert Panel member and we’re delighted to welcome her to Handpicked. An accidental gardener who discovered her passion when encountering an old seed packet at the back of a cupboard, Laetitia went on to write The Virgin Gardener and co-present Love Your Garden with Alan Titchmarsh.