Christmas Wreath

Wild Garden Style Christmas Wreaths

In Fierce Winter Floristry by FiercebloomsLeave a Comment

WORDS: Kathryn Cronin PHOTOS: Ricky Bache
This year more than any other, it seems Christmas Wreaths have hit the big time. Gone are the days when all that was on offer was holly and ivy on a moss base. Although I do love the simplicity of the past, who wouldn’t wish to hang a stylish, sophisticated wild garden style piece of floral art on their door to welcome their friends and family (and lets be honest my darlings, just to impress just a wee bit).

Feathers give such movement and drama to a wreath – and although difficult to source, I was determined to get my hands on some. Look closely and you can pick up the myriad of colours in those wings with other elements. The lovely poultry lady at Nantwich Market happily obliged, although it was clear she was thinking I was utterly mad. I am now known as feather lady. It could be a lot worse!

I love the wild garden look of dried seed heads in a Christmas wreath. Much to my other halfs delight, I had been collecting and storing dried stems from the garden that I concede had been occupying quite a bit of space. I wanted to include them as they captured elements of each of the previous seasons. I confess my gold, white, copper and even black spray paint was rather in demand.

A few of my dried floral favourites:

  • Nigella seeds heads – just amazing structural balls of loveliness.
  • Allium – large and delicate but worth it for larger designs
  • Aquilegia seed heads – good sturdy stems with small beautiful tulip like structures
  • Limonium – looks almost like fairy lights
  • Thistles – lovely natural or with a bit of gold, great to add texture and depth to the design
  • Tillansia – wispy and wonderful for movement
  • Honesty – beautiful with an ethereal look – I only had a few stems but its so impactful I must grow some more

This year I plan to grow larkspur and Limonium Suworowii (as featured in the Cotehele garland) for drying. Pastels and pinks work really well with the palette of a Christmas wreath.

And lets not forget the odd pine cone that is such a ubiquitous symbol of all things Christmasy. I will never forget the day when my other half saw the price of a bag of cones from a certain shop – you know where I mean. Ever since then there has been not one complaint at the cones collected on our numerous walks. I will have to have a serious collecting focus this year as I unbelievably I am almost out. This is partly due to the on trend wreaths of cones and moss. I just had to have one for our door but as you can imagine they take quite a few pine cones. I built mine on a used oasis wreath and wired cones. I poked moss through the gaps to finish.

What I realised is that wreaths made with dried material and feathers will easily last the entire month of December. They are particularly fine if they are hung outside, and even inside, if they are sprayed with water or taken down and dunked carefully, they will last.

Top Tips on How to create your wreath:

The most important thing I learnt was to get the base right. Cutting blue pine from the back of the branch was a top tip passed on from a very experienced floral friend. You need a lot of greenery. To avoid the “flat” look, make sure you add foliage to create a dome. This sounds very obvious but you can create a wreath as big or small as you want it by adding foliage to a lesser or greater extend around the edges.

The most important thing I learnt was to get the base right.

I grouped elements together to avoid the ring of equally placed items look. Pine cones were buried to create depth. The feathers and other wispy elements went on last, spiralled at intervals, to give movement and rhythm.

I must tell you a funny tale though. I made a huge wreath for the beautiful farm house next door. The next morning, a puddle was found on the floor. Angus the farm dog was blamed and admonished for his failings – not since he was a puppy had such an event occurred. Then the next morning, in the same place, was a smaller puddle. Of course poor Angus was in the firing line again but then the farmers wife realised the coincidence of its location below the wreath and Angus was spared any further blame. Note to self readers to hang the wreath a while to avoid any inevitable drips and the dog being blamed.

I would be delighted if you would have a look at some examples of my work on my wild garden style floral design portfolio page and let me know what you think.

You can also read more from Fierceblooms on the floristry blog including another article about Christmas flowers.

Also on the site, there are loads more articles about my canalside cutting garden and a page detailing my fierce flower classes and tutelage for you to enrol on a learn to make wreaths like this.

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