Make your own festive garland

PUBLISHED: 11:15 21 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:15 21 November 2015

Create your own festive wreath

Create your own festive wreath

Archant

Creating festive decorations is easier than you think when you can take inspiration from your own garden to make something unique.

The basis of a wreath is usually evergreen foliage, which can be green, variegated or coloured. Choices include holly, conifers, ivy, eucalyptus or box, finished with colour from berries, winter flowers, pine cones or even tiny apples.

There is a wide range of possibilities such as holly, physalis, winter jasmine, rosehips, mistletoe, snowberry or viburnum.

For something a little different, make your wreath with twisted stems of coloured willows, dogwood or any pliable shrub or vine. Then just add a splash of foliage and flowers for a striking, contemporary look.

Have a wander around your garden and be inspired by the natural possibilities to make a very personal wreath to adorn your door this Christmas. Follow our easy steps and take inspiration from some different decorative finishes to inspire your own ideas.

Step-by-step willow wreath

(this method can also be used with any pliable stems)

Materials

 12-16 stems of willow – five green and the rest coloured

 Secateurs

 Green florist’s wire or reel of wire

 Additional decorative foliage and flowers, such as mistletoe, mahonia, holly, chillies, hydrangea, physalis, pine cones or teasels

 Trims of ribbon or raffia

Step 1

 Gently bending from the tip of a green stem, form a circle

Step 2

 With ends pointing the same way, one by one entwine each green stem around

 Trim ends on an angle at the back

Step 3

 Add the coloured stems until you have the thickness you want

 Start at different points but all in the same direction

 Some stems may go around twice if they’re long

 Ensure all ends are tucked in or cut at the back so as not to scratch your front door

Step 4

 Wire on additional foliage and flowers

 Can do one at a time or in groups

 Can use a glue gun if you prefe

Top tips

• Other material apart from willow can be used for a twisted base as long as it is flexible, such as cornus, contorted hazel, grapevine or climbing hydrangea

• the best material is one-year growth as it is most flexible and has the best colour

• cut stems once sap is down, when the leaves are off

• use stems straight away or they can be mellowed by leaving under a hedge or open-sided barn for up to six weeks

• You can warm and stretch stems to shape without breaking

• If you are using dried willow, to regain flexibility soak for a few hours, up to three to four days, then mellow 24 hours before use

• top willows to grow/use: Salix britensis - red

- S. daphnoides – purple

- S. goldstones – vivid green/gold

• Colourful cornus: orange-red ‘Midwinter Fire’

- yellow-green ‘Flaviramea’

• Try combining combinations of stems, such as willow, cornus and eleagnus, twisted together into a round base

• You may like to use a wire frame and entwine stems through and around it, gradually building up twisted stems and foliage

• You can turn your wreath into a table centre and place a candle in the middle

• You can make the whole arrangement using dried choices such as seed heads and pine cones. The airing cupboard makes a great place for drying seed heads, fir cones etc, or in a basket a safe distance from an open fire. If you are lucky enough to have an Aga/Rayburn, set a basket of ‘ingredients’ near to it

• Take your time, do collect materials as you go about your daily routine, rather than leaving it to the last minute. On seasonal walks, keep your eyes peeled, and a carrier bag in hand

• Any leftover stems can be twisted into tiny bows and adorned with berries, tiny pinecones or flowers for present toppers

• You can also create stars and tiny woven shapes to pop among your decorations

• Colour theme your base and decorations, think beyond the traditional red and green to maybe tangy orange berries and physalis on a lime green cornus base, a white and green theme with snowberries and viburnum flowers, or pinks and purples with sorbus and callicarpa berries

Plant choices

Holly

Buxus macrophyla and elegantissima

Cedar

Ivy

Spruce

Eucalyptus

Viburnum

Small-leafed bay

Yew

Rose hips

Dogwood

Willow

Grapevine

Contorted hazel

Winter jasmine

Mistletoe

Physalis

Snowberry

Nandina

Sarcococca

Rosemary

Daphne

Willow workshops

There still may be places available

• 5 December – Yule Wreaths

Alan Sage at Godinton House, Ashford, TN23 3BP

£40 (12pm-3pm)

www.ajscrafts.co.uk

• 5 December – Christmas Decorations

John Waller at Bore Place, Chiddingstone, TN8 7AR

£40 (10am-2pm)

www.underwoodsman.co.uk

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