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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 12/3/2013

IN THE GARDEN

Make a wreath with extra greens

A homemade wreath is easier than you think

BY KELLY HEIDBREDER
GARDENING COLUMNIST FOR THE BLADE
Kelly Heidbreder Kelly Heidbreder
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Have you been hunting for the most amazing tree at your favorite tree farm?

Maybe you have just unpacked the perfect pre-lit tree from the box. Now that it is loaded with lights, ornaments, and jingle bells, your festive focal point is set.

But there are other layers to your holiday décor. Pull together some of your favorite holiday greens and let’s make a wreath.

 

Pieces and parts

If you have a fresh tree, you probably have a few branches from the bottom that had to be cut off to make it fit in your living room. Those will give you a good start, but you will need a few more. If you don’t have any evergreen boughs around your landscape that need to be pruned, you can always find some at a tree farm. The key is to combine a few different types of evergreens together to come up with a thick, beautiful holiday wreath.

Grab a few branches from the fir family like Concolor, Douglas and Fraser. They have thicker needles that are softer. Concolor smells like oranges. They all have a strong fragrance and will last a long time. The soft needles make them easy to work with and look great on the mantle, over your door and even in a centerpiece.

A blue spruce adds strength to your wreath, but will be a little hard to handle without gloves. It is rigid with small sharp needles and a nice blue-gray color.

The pines are light and airy with their soft fluffy needles bundled a the end of each branch.

Boxwood tips trimmed from the bushes around your garden make a nice complement to the long needles of the pine boughs.

 

Getting ready

Once you have found about five different types of greens, it is time to get them ready to assemble. I like to cut all of my branches first, then put them in piles. Cut the evergreen tips six to 12 inches long.

You will need about 10 pounds of small branches to make a 22 inch wreath. Cut the boxwood branches a little longer from 12 to 18 inch lengths. This will make them easier to handle.

 

Putting it together

Handling the evergreens can be tough on the hands, so I always use gloves. Use a round wire frame as the foundation for your wreath. I have a very large wreath that I put on my house every year that is three feet in diameter. You can use this technique for wreaths of any size.

Gather one of each type of evergreen in your hand so you have a small bundle. Tie it together with piece of floral wire. Then attach that small bundle to the wire frame with floral wire that is on a spool. Don’t cut the wire that is attached to the wire frame. You will continue to wrap the spooled wire around the frame with small bundles of evergreens until it is packed full. If you have a large frame, it can get heavy, so lay it flat on the ground or on a picnic table.

Once you have it packed with evergreens, tie off the wire to the frame on the back side.

I also like to use some of nature’s decorations on my wreaths. Decorate your evergreens with variegated holly. Its white, yellow and green leaves are spectacular, set off by bright red berries. You can also find varieties of holly with solid green leaves with red berries.

Lay a few stems of a more delicate evergreen like cedar or juniper on top. Some cedars are lighter green and on the yellow side and really complement the dark green of the fir. The dark purple juniper berries wired on top will make your wreath look like it already has a bow.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com 



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