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Garden Cuttings to make Beautiful Fresh Winter and Holiday DIY Wreaths

Winter and holiday 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 both from the garden and from the greater landscape to make beautiful fresh winter DIY wreaths from the local hedgerows.

The hedgerow at the base of my driveway is one of the best foraging spots for beautiful winter arrangements and wreath making. Sumac is one of my personal favorites. #december #holidaydecor #sumac #garden #garten #gardenlife #gardenstyle #poppytalkfallcolours #abmautumn #nature #dsfloral #folkmagazine #forager #foraging #wreathmaking #wreath #wreaths by rochelle greayer
Sumac’s deep red clusters of berries are easily found along many roadsides and make for a strong, shapely addition to any arrangement.

What to collect in the Wild for DIY Winter Christmas Wreaths – How to Forage for Wreaths

Winterberry, sumac, mosses, evergreen clippings of all sorts, and a wide variety of unknown wild berries and pretty dried weeds all make their way back to my work area. Look for plants that have at least one strong feature of color, structure, shape, or texture.

Bring pruners and a trug to collect with. If you are in your car, you might also consider some large plastic buckets that you can keep in your trunk with a bit of water in the bottom to keep your fresh cuts, fresh.

I’m always amazed by the selection I can uncover. 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.

winter wreath and holiday decorations from the garden by rochelle greayer
A variety of my winter garden cuttings to use in winter florals.

What to collect From the Fading Fall Garden for Your Winter DIY Wreaths

I also gather materials from my garden. My cultivated favorites include grass heads, callicarpa berries (that’s the purple in the image), rose hips (both wild and gardened), and greens (my favorites are juniper and spruce varieties, but I also snip bits off my boxwoods, holly, viburnum, pierus and sometimes my rhododendrons).

Anything with blue or silver tones always catches my eye since those are the hardest colors to come by.

Once I get the collection all laid out, it is always so creatively inspiring. 

How To Make A Winter Wreath

Start by gathering a wire wreath frame and various seasonal materials such as pinecones, evergreen branches, and berries. Attach these items to the frame using floral wire or hot glue. Personalize your wreath with ribbon or ornaments, and hang it on your front door or in your home for a festive touch during the winter season. – This is the tedious way – let me show you a better way…

Rose hips, blue spruce, callicarpa stems, dock, mosses, and grass seed heads collected from the garden for winter wreaths.
Wreath materials:
Rose hips, blue spruce, callicarpa stems, dock, mosses, and grass seed heads collected from the garden for winter wreaths.

Getting Started – The Winter Wreath DIY Base (the easy way)

I start with the simplest, cheapest pre-made fresh evergreen wreaths. These typically only have one type of evergreen in them (more of a mix always costs more). These are easy to find and tend to be cheap. These pre-made fresh wreaths are always way too boring for my taste – so I use them as a starting point to add 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.

wreath making - rochelle greayer

Make bundles of mixed materials.

By making bundles of materials you can heighten the impact of whatever you are working with – and it is easier to attached bundles to wreaths that individual stems.

Wrap each with floral wire and attach them to the winter wreath, tucking them in among the existing greens. The bundles create much needed 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.

wreath making rochelle greayer
*The spray paint isn’t getting used on the wreath -. But if my hydrangea heads dry out soon enough, I might add a little golden luster and include them on another wreath.

Determine a plant palette and stick with it – There is beauty in Simplicity

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.

Foraged garden wreath

The Eternal Winter Door Wreath Question: To Bow or not to 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). When you have a bow – it becomes the focal point – without it – you have to work a little harder.

Try this winter wreath idea – think about how you might be able to make the materials have a central gathering point. This will give your eye a natural focal point to start taking in the whole arrangement.

Grasses contrast with the darker foliage of the holly and evergreens giving some visual relief to a holiday wreath.
The grasses are light and contrast with the darker foliage of the holly and evergreens, giving some visual relief.
Red holly berries in a winter garden wreath
Red berries of holly are a winter door wreath staple – but look for other colored berry options. Callicarpa (purple) and snowberry (which are white and pink) are two shrubs I have harvested wreath-making materials from in my garden.
grasses and red holly berries - wreath details by rochelle greayer

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 shows up as I heft it up the ladder and hang it).

A winter wreath made out of greenery and berries.

Adding the DIY Christmas wreath lights:

A wreath like this is delicate and calls for delicate lights. I tend to hang the wreath first and then gently lay the lights in. I use the very lightweight copper string lights at least 25 feet and I leave it very loose and free. DIY wreaths from garden cuttings tend to have an ephemeral quality. None of the materials are preserved, and as they are left outside, they will likely continue to be food for birds. Heavy plastic green wired Christmas wreath lights just don’t ever match the lightweight vibe. So I use these.

I can’t wait to see it all lit up and festively greeting us every time we come home.   Next up – a smaller matching winter front door wreath to match… same materials, just scaled down.

What size wreath is suitable for above a garage?

The ideal wreath size for above a garage typically ranges from 24 – 36 inches in diameter. However, it ultimately depends on the dimensions of your garage and personal preference. I go towards the bigger side and leave the 12-18 in wreaths for human-sized doorways and the small barn windows. Consider measuring the space above your garage door to ensure a perfectly fitting wreath.”

If I can get a lovely shot, I’ll try to update this post. But most likely, you will find it on instagram first.


More DIY Wreath and Decor Making Posts:

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