Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Decking the Halls

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I’m all for saving money.  That’s why I decided to make my own holiday wreaths this year.  And not only did I make my wreaths at no cost, but it was a lot of fun!  Being crafty and hunting/gathering from my garden are two of my favorite activities.  And with a bit of trial and error, I’m confidant you could also jazz up your front door (or a friend’s!).


There are three main ingredients to a successful wreath: a sturdy frame, generous amount of green floral wire (or any thin wire) and, of course, your wintergreens. 

Let’s start with the frame.  The photo on the left shows two different shapes: the circle is the top of a plant stand with legs removed (what you would use to keep your floppy peonies upright) and the square is sticks I fastened together with wire.  If you had really flexible sticks, I think you could also fasten together and bend to make a circle (or any shape, really!). 


After you have the frame ready, it’s time to gather your wintergreens.  I like to pick a variety of textures and colors, as shown in the photo on the left.  Any combination of long and short-needled pine branches, spruce, arborvitae or cedar can add great depth to your wreath.  Even branches of boxwood could be really cool.  There is no set way – whatever combination you like best and whatever is available. 

And since we are collecting such a small amount of wintergreens, it’s ok to clip a few branches from your trees.  Just make sure to not leave any bare spots and, of course, ask first before cutting branches from neighbor’s trees!

If you don’t have wintergreens at your fingertips, consider buying a few feet of garland from the store.  You’ll likely spend less than ten dollars and you can just clip the branches from the garland.  (Or if you are really strapped for time, you could wrap your garland around your frame and fasten with wire!)

It’s important to not be stingy with the wintergreens when making your wreath – fuller is always better!  I like to grab a handful (photo on right) that can comfortably fit in my palm.  And in each bunch, I grab one to two branches of each variety I’m using.


Fasten the bunch on your frame by wrapping wire around several times.  You can continue around the frame one bunch at a time until the whole frame is covered.  For a full wreath, it is important to space bunches fairly close so the wire does not show.  All the wood ends should also be facing the same direction.


And in just a short time, you have a beautiful wreath worthy of any front door!  For a few extra touches, you could add pine cones, branches of crabapple (red berries), ribbon, dried fruit, branches of juniper (blue berries) … you get the idea.  The options are endless!

Happy holidays to you and yours.  See you in the gardens.


Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

December 3, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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