By Mary Reid Barrow
Making a wreath from scratch and decorating it with local pinecones, berries and other bits of nature is my version of decking the halls with boughs of holly.
Give me armloads of holly, cedar, yaupon and other greens from my yard and neighborhood, a straw wreath, and some wreath pins from the crafts store, and that’s all I need to get in the spirit.
Over the years my daughter Isabel and I have made wreaths together on Thanksgiving weekend. In the past couple of years, LRNow also has held workshops to make wreaths with native greens. See the photos at the bottom.
It’s an easy process. There’s no holiday stress in making these wreaths. All-forgiving straw wreaths and wreath pins, make it easy to cover any glitch with yet another piece of green and another pin!
The process begins by pinning branches of, say, cedar or holly—10 inches long or so– round and around the wreath, attaching the end of the next branch underneath the tip the of the one before. As the wreath fills out on top, check the sides—inside and out–to see what holes need more greens.
A fan of Williamsburg or old fashioned boxwood wreaths would not like this method. Neatness and preciseness are unimportant. Let the wreath get full of greens and kind of sassy looking. Pine boughs help with a loose full look as you can see in this photo from the LRNow workshop at top.
As the wreath fills with greens, a couple of focal points usually emerge where maybe the greens are a little sparse. Don’t despair. One spot might be good for a bow, which you can purchase from the craft shop too. Another empty looking spot might be good for a cluster of berries, though this is a bad year for berries, or pinecones or greens of another texture.
And you don’t have to use a bow at all if you want your wreath to look all natural.
Someone at the LRNow workshop dried orange slices and brought them to decorate the wreaths. One year, Isabel and I found unusual little winged seed pods to decorate our wreaths with. Anything goes.
Besides how can you go wrong with fresh local greens? They are beautiful from the start.
Reach Mary Reid: MaryReid@LRNow.org