For more than a decade, I have led a holiday wreath-making workshop offered through SFA Gardens. The workshop remains popular with participants returning year after year to utilize the unusual foliage from our conifer collection.
You don’t need to have your own conifer collection to create a beautiful holiday wreath. Many plants located in your own garden will work just fine.
To begin, gather about 50 6-inch branch tips from plants like boxwood, juniper, arborvitae, holly and/or rosemary. Pine also works well but leaves a sticky resin on your hands. Soak your gathered branches in a bucket of water overnight.
Purchase these supplies: one 14-inch metal wreath frame, Spanish moss, 24-gauge green paddle wire (available at craft stores), pruning shears, wire snips and embellishments like ribbon and ornaments.
1. Make your wreath: Affix the cut end of the paddle wire firmly to the metal wreath frame. Begin to tightly wrap a layer of Spanish moss along the concave side of the wreath frame with the paddle wire. This allows for a flat working surface. Once the frame is covered with moss, cut the paddle wire and twist the end of the wire around the frame. You can use this prepared frame year after year.
2. Reattach the paddle wire to the frame. Lay a small bundle of stems on the now-flat side of the prepared frame with the tips facing right, and wrap paddle wire tightly around the bottom of the stem bundles to attach to the frame. Slightly position each added bundle right, then middle, then left.
3. Continue to layer and wrap bundles, moving about an inch in a clockwise direction around the frame, taking care to hide the wire-wrapped ends with the additional bundles. As you near the end, lift up the tips of the first bundle, and add more sections around the wreath until it is lush and full. Cut and tie off the paddle wire.
4. To finish, make a hanger for your wreath by cutting an 8-inch section of paddle wire, fold it in half, and then form a loop by twisting the ends together, and attach to the back of the wreath at the top. You are now ready to attach your embellishments with additional paddle wire. If you notice thin areas, consider attaching an embellishment there to fill in.
5. Your wreath is now ready to hang and enjoy all season long. Happy holidays!