Winter wreath making festivities start with post-Thanksgiving walks. With pruners in one hand, and the canvas log carrier in the other, I love to forage for my favorite cuttings to make a beautiful fresh winter wreath from the local hedgerows.
Winterberry, sumac, mosses, evergreens of all sorts, and a wide variety of unknown wild berries and pretty dried weeds make their way back to my work area.
I’m always amazed by the selection. I especially love how some materials don’t seem like much in the wild, but, once I’ve gathered a quantity, they suddenly become more substantial. Bundled, they can be impactful enough to make something beautiful.
I also gather materials from my garden. My cultivated favorites include grassheads, callicarpa berries (that’s the purple), rose hips (both wild and gardened) and greens (my favorite are juniper and spruce varieties). Anything with blue or silver tones always catches my eye.
Once I get the collection all laid out, it is always so creatively inspiring.
Getting Started – The Winter Wreath Base
I start with the simplest, cheapest pre-made fresh wreaths. These typically only have one type of evergreen in them. These are easy to find and tend to be cheap – but pre-made fresh wreaths are boring and need more.
You can certainly start with a bare wreath frame but you will need much more base evergreen materials to get going. I find that by starting with a basic base, I save time and work. It is easy to layer in more textures without having to worry about having enough to fill it out completely.
Make bundles of mixed materials. Wrap each with floral wire and attach them to the winter wreath, tucking them in among the existing greens. The bundles create much need bulk, particularly if you are working on a larger wreath.
This wreath is big (a 36″ metal frame – which means that the finished wreath is over 4 feet across). It will hang above our garage door.
Because of the size, larger bundles work well – anything too small will not be substantial enough to be seen from below.
As I work, I end up keeping the palette simple for this wreath. The mix is made up of Holly, Boxwood, Blue Spruce (taken from the base of our Christmas tree) and grasses from the garden.
The rest of the more dainty materials I collected will end up used on smaller wreaths and in other foraged holiday floral arrangements.
Bow or no bow?
I am a strident anti-bow person. When it comes to any holiday or winter wreath and decor in general, I find bows to be too much.
Maybe someday I will discover a bow technique that will not be a complete pain-in-the-neck to make. (I have no patience for it!) But I also think that bows tend to compete rather than complement the wild garden look that I prefer.
Without a bow, I try to make foliage do the work of creating a focal point for the arrangement. (yes, you need a focal point on a wreath just like in any other floral arrangement)
To do this, think about how you might be able to make the materials have a central gathering point. This will give the eye a natural focal point to start taking in the whole arrangement.
So here, it is 95% done.
I always add a little more once I get it hung in its final position. It always needs gaps to be filled and damaged pieces repaired. (that inevitably show up as I heft it up the ladder and hang it).
I can’t wait to see it all lit up and festively greeting us every time we come home.
If I can get a lovely shot, I’ll try to update this post. But mostly likely you will find it on instagram first.