It has been a tradition for friends and I to make our Christmas Wreaths together. We have attended workshops at different venues using a range of techniques. Bunches of greenery wired together and attached to a wire frame; plastic and oasis hoops; dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks, pine comes and all kinds of other trimmings. Last year we decided to try our local Parks Trust workshop. The Parks Trust was set up as a charity many years ago and they are responsible for the majority of the green spaces in our area. They manage a diverse estate from ancient woodland to man made lakes where people learn to sail and everything in between.
We enjoyed the workshop so much last year that we booked again this year as soon as places were advertised. What I particularly like about the Parks Trust wreaths is that they are made entirely of natural materials. All the materials are sourced from the Trusts normal routine cutting back of vegetation. The base is created from Cornus (Dogwood) whips which are taped together into a circle. This is then covered with a layer of straw, cut from managed meadows, which is bound with cotton thread to keep it in place. Yew is added next, poking it into the straw base and some extra thread binding if needed. Euonymous, Holly, Ivy, Cotoneaster and Mahonia and other evergreens are provided for everyone to choose from to decorate their wreaths in their own style. Interestingly, the late autumn this year had affected what was available. Last year the Mahonia had turned a wonderful bronze colour and provided a contrast to the green, where as this year it was still green. There were few Mahonia flowers this year too, which I had used at the base of my wreath last year. The scent from them as you came through the door was amazing. So this year's wreath is predominately green.
When I first got back from the workshop I realised my wreath was a bit lopsided but did not have time to sort it out immediately. (I wonder if the mulled wine we were served had anything to do with that?) The lovely sunshine this morning and a free hour tempted me out into the garden and a few adjustments have been made. I may have overestimated the size of my door as there is only just enough space to get the key in the lock, but I am very happy with the result.
Our wreath making tradition is one I hope we continue for many years to come.
Friends, fun, creativity and natural materials - a great combination.