Every Country home needs a Christmas wreath. Use our step-by-step guide to create a beautiful foraged, willow wreath.
Garden designer, Susan Begg from Semple Begg shows how to create a beautiful foraged wreath that will last the whole festive season.
Step by Step Guide
One of the easiest, quickest and most effective ways of making a wreath is to create your own woven ring, using willow (Salix) or dogwood (Cornus). The colours and variation of the stems are a beautiful feature in themselves. If you have either growing within striking distance, go out and snip it quick. Both benefit from coppicing (cutting back) and will regenerate with renewed vigour as soon as Spring springs.
Gather lots of foraged materials. Evergreens and dried seedheads are perfect for willow wreaths. Think about colour and effect. I’ve chosen to use simple, classic reds and green. You don’t need to use everything in your palate but give yourself plenty of options to experiment. Additional equipment: secateurs and floristry wire.
Gather 10-15 stems of willow or dogwood, each about 1m in length. Take each length and bend along the length of the stem between your thumbs and forefingers. Form each loop loosely into a circle – don’t worry too much about creating a perfect circle. Finish off each end by tucking in any stray whisps. Keep weaving until you have a handsome wreath of woven stems.
Before you begin adding elements to your wreath, tie a length of ribbon around the top of the wreath. Adding the ribbon to a full wreath can be tricky! Now, play and experiment by laying different elements on top of the wreath. Think about scale, balance and flow. Repeat elements help to create impact; adding elements in twos, threes, five and sevens has a natural balance and harmony. Once you have a sense of how they combine and how you want your wreath to look you can begin to secure the elements. Push the stems of each element into the gaps in the wreath. If necessary further secure them with short lengths of floristry wire.
Hold your wreath up to assess it as you progress. Trim away any errant whisps, blemished leaves or excess foliage.
Display your wreath where it will best be appreciated. Indoors or out. Outdoor wreaths will last longer. You can prolong the fresh look of your wreath by misting the evergreen elements with water. The wonderful thing about willow wreaths is that you can unpick and replace foliage and elements over the weeks of the festive season, giving it a little tweak here and there. Unlike an oasis that will be damaged and degraded as soon as you start piercing it with stems.
Susan Begg is one half of Semple Begg, a successful garden and landscape design practice working out of the UK and Switzerland.
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