Make a fresh and dried Christmas wreath
Making my wreath for the front door is when I usually actually to feel festive – and this year is no exception. As soon as I stepped inside Sarah Diligent’s Floribunda Rose Flower School Studio in rural Hampshire I knew I was in for a treat. Fragrant botanical candles twinkled everywhere, mulled wine and spiced apple juice simmered in enamel pots on the stove and the entire space was filled with fragrant seasonal branches, dried flowers, waxed fruit and all manner of festive loveliness.
After warming up with a spiced apple juice, I found my eyes roving in search of a starting point to inspire me. I wanted to make something different to the wreaths I’ve made before and when I saw all the beautiful dried flowers and seedheads, I decided mixing fresh and dried ingredients was the way to go.
We started by adding the moss (sustainably sourced from Wales) to our metal rings. As Sarah explained, using these rings is a more sustainable option if we re-use them. I have re-used old metal rings multiple times before, right up until they have pretty much rusted away so I have no qualms about this at all.
I won’t talk you through all the step by steps of how to add your moss and then the greenery base here because I’ve covered it great detail before. Head over to: How to Make a Christmas Wreath and Make a Contemporary Christmas Wreath to get all the step by step info you need.
What I’d like to do here is share some of the ideas and ingredients I chose to use for this wreath, in case you’d like to make something similar.
Making a fresh and dried Christmas wreath
The key bit of practical information you need to know is that Sarah advises adding in your dried flowers in small bunches as you are wiring in your greenery and before you add the final embellishments. It’s to make them more secure and also to help with the design process of your wreath as you go. You can always add more dried flowers later too.
So I picked bunches of Lambs Tales (Langrus), pink and apricot Statice, dried Nigella seed heads and poppy seed heads. You poke them into the ring (make little bunches of delicate stems like the Langrus) just as you do the greenery, and wire in to secure them in place.
Where to buy similar dried flowers
Shropshire Petals on Etsy is a favourite of mine for sourcing English dried flowers.
I decided to go for relaxed, almost random design. ‘Random’ definitely feels like a bit of a stretch for me as I naturally want to make things very symmetrical. I wanted to go for a natural and wild look, so I resisted the urge to add identical counted-out bunches of dried lambs tails at precise intervals. I still think this was the right way to go but as I look at the images now, I do still sort of want to count out and clump the lamb tails neatly together and position them more evenly. Possibly with the aid of a ruler. It’s funny what you learn about yourself when you immerse yourself in something creative isn’t it?
Adding the waxed apples & hydrangea
Anyway, once I’d positioned and wired the greenery and dried flower ingredients, it was time to decide which embellishments to go for. The choice was wide and beautiful. Waxed gold crab apples with biodegradable glitter were the first things I collected but when I held them against the wreath, they got a bit lost. So I put them back and upgraded to red wax-dipped fresh apples instead. I really liked how they worked against the colours and decided to add a group of three. These are easy to make, apparently – they are literally little fresh apples dipped in melted red wax and allowed to set.
Wiring the apples
You wire them by poking through a length of florist’s wire and securing at the back. The key is to push the wire straight through the fruit, about a third of the way up and bend the ends before twisting the wire to secure. Be careful not to twist the fruit instead as this is likely to break the apple. Once secure, you push the end of the wire through the wreath in the position you’d like the apple to be, then snip off the excess, leaving about 2 inches, from the other side and poke the end back into the wreath. You can now angle the apple to sit how you’d like it to.
I wanted to add a little bit more colour so I decided to add a few pieces of dried hydrangea. Sarah showed me how to wire this by making a hook with a fine length of florist’s wire which goes up and over a strongish branch and is then bent down and twisted round the wire to secure. Then you add to the wreath in the same way as the apples.
Before deciding where the top should be for hanging, it’s a good idea to hold your wreath up and really look at it as a whole. It’s easy to focus in on the detail rather than seeing how your wreath is looking as a whole. At this stage we all decided to add a few more pieces of greenery here and there.
Adding the ribbon
I’d chosen which bit should be the top but struggled to decide which ribbon colour to go for. Sarah had started the workshop off by saying she felt this year is a ‘Velvet Ribbon Christmas’ which can only be a good thing in my book. There was a basket full of beautiful velvet ribbons to choose from (not everyone went for a ribbon and you really don’t have to. But I didn’t need to be asked twice. I was definitely going for a ribbon, but which colour to go for?
I narrowed down the choice to a dusky pink and a winter white. Sarah noticed I was agonising over this decision and generously cut a length of each so I could change my mind. As I write this I do wonder why I can truly agonise over such dilemmas and yet the biggest decisions in life I can make with barely a second thought. Anyway, back to the wreath making…
Actually now I’ve seen the winter white ribbon in situ I love it and definitely won’t be swapping it for the pink one. What do you think?
Finally, to hang your wreath, make your bow and thread a length of strong florist’s wire through the back of the knot. Bend and twist the end of the wire to secure as before, then poke the wire through the middle of the wreath where you’d like the top to be. Create a loop (I had enough wire to make a double loop) and secure by twisting the end of the wire in and around it. All that’s left to do now is to hang your creation and (if you’re anything like as needy as me, make everyone come and admire what you’ve made).
For me, seeing my wreath hanging on my door every time I head out or return home is a real Christmas pleasure. If you decide to make a fresh and dried Christmas wreath too, I hope you enjoy – and do send me photos of your wreaths! X
Floribunda Rose is listed in the From Britain with Love directory here >>
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