We tend to wait until after my birthday in November before we start thinking about Christmas. So now that is out of the way I am definitely focusing on the festive period!
To get things started we have held our first (sold out!) two wreath-making workshops in the garden room. Everyone has been so nice and friendly and full of Christmas cheer. Every wreath is different but equally beautiful.
It was so nice to see one lady, Barbara, who has come to make a wreath here for the last three years!
We’re thrilled to say that all of our wreath making sessions filled up very quickly and we’re sold out now until the end of the year. We’ll be posting photos of the wreaths on the website and our social media as we do them to give you ideas for if you’re having a go at home.
FOLIAGE FOR WREATHS
We use foliage from the garden to make the wreaths, so I thought you might be interested in knowing what I use as people often overlook what they might already be growing. Many trees and shrubs are fine being ‘pruned’ at this time of year. Just watch where you prune so you don’t have too many gaps.
Conifers – these make a good base for a wreath and are in plentiful supply. Green and gold leylandii are fine, as are spruce and pine. Often the latter have spiky leaves so are good to add another element to the wreath. I have a lovely slow growing Korean spruce which I carefully take some branches off.
Evergreen Trees and Shrubs
Holly is of course the first one that comes to mind. There are lots of different coloured leaved varieties, but they are quite slow growing, and you need a female or self fertile tree to get berries. I tend not to use holly in a wreath as I don’t like the prickles, but some such as JC Van Tol are fairly smooth.
Evergreen Oak is a dark , roundish leaved tree which I often use instead of holly as it isn’t prickly!
Eleagnus is similar to above and also has a silvery underleaf which is attractive. There are also variegated forms.
Skimmia has a floret of leaves and is a good filler, and has the bonus of green or maroon flowers which adds colour to the wreath, as does Viburnum Tinus which has whitish pink flowers at this time of year. Unfortunately the leaves have often been shredded by Viburnum moth, which is a shame as it is a good filler.
Eucalyptus We have some very big eucalyptus trees, so we welcome a bit of winter pruning for the wreaths, and there are also seed pods at this time of year to add extra interest.
Tree Ivy – this is the mature form of Hedera helix and is the one that has the small white round flowers and black seed heads. I use it a lot to give some interest to the wreath and may also spray them with gold or silver paint.
Euonymus. We use both the green and white and greeny yellow and white as contrasting fillers in the wreath, the white form in particular, adding some good contrast to the darker foliage
Cones etc We are lucky to have some cone bearing conifers in the garden, and supplement them with a friend’s hoard as well. We have lots of alder seed heads which can be sprayed and birch catkins as well.
Finally, we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has visited and supported us this year. 2019 has probably been our busiest year yet, with our plant sales, workshops, volunteers and lots of other activities. We’ll send out details of our 2020 programme in the New Year so stay tuned for that.
All the very best for Christmas and the New Year,