Rather than buying your Christmas wreath this year, let your imagination run free and create your own giant pine wreath, with the help of Katie and Terri of Worm London. Go foraging round your local park for materials, grab your garlands and give it a go for yourself…
“We live in the city, and as you might imagine our small apartments are already full of plants, so come Christmas time we just don’t have enough room for a Christmas tree. However, we do have an alternative: a huge pine wreath. It still fills our homes with that evocative, festive scent and you can even decorate it with little fairy lights if you wish. Pine lasts very well out of water, so if you put up the wreath in December it should easily last until Christmas. You can add other materials of your choice to make it special too: we added sticks we found in our local park, and holly and ivy from the garden to make it as full and festive as possible. We use twine when fixing the frame as it makes it easier to add in smaller bits later by pulling them through the string. You could also use binding wire for this, but it will be harder to add to unless you use more wire. You can make a smaller version using the same steps to make a pine door wreath, but it is the scale of this wreath that makes it really exciting.”
- 1 willow vine 2m (6ft) in length
- Florist’s scissors
- Large nail or hook for hanging, if required
- Roll of binding wire (optional)
Flowers + foliage:
- 4 x 15cm (8 in) sprigs of holly
- 4 long stems of ivy
- 15 x 20cm (8in) pieces of cypress fronds or any other species of evergreen
- 15 x 20cm (6in) pieces of Scots pine
- 6 thin sticks foraged from the park, the wilder the better
Shape your willow into a wreath approximately 1m (3ft) in diameter. You can work on it on a flat surface or on the floor, but it is better to hang it somewhere to work on that will be easy to access and will take a lot of weight.
Add the foliage so that it all faces in an anticlockwise direction. Start by adding a piece of cypress fronds into the bottom left corner, wrap a piece of twine around the end of the stem and the vine, and tie them tightly together. Next add a piece of Scots pine on top of the string you have just attached and tie the stem to the vine. Keep doing this all the way around the vine, alternating between cypress fronds and Scots pine if you are using both.
At this stage the wreath will be looking quite neat and circular. If you would prefer it to look fuller and wilder, go around the circle again in the same direction as before. This time it won’t be necessary to add more string as there is a good base already in place. Use your hands to find the string and weave in the new pieces of pine until they feel secure. Making the wreath fuller at one particular point, such as the bottom right corner as seen here, will create a focal point and add flow to the wreath.
Now you can add all the little extras such as sprigs of holly and ivy at various points around the wreath; different colours and textures will give the finished wreath a more interesting look. Small fronds and foraged sticks can also add to the overall effect. Be sure to add any additional pieces in the same direction, so as not to disrupt the flow of the wreath.
When it is time to hang your wreath, you can simply suspend the vine itself on a large nail or hook, or you can add twine or wire to the top of the vine and use this to hang the wreath. You can also drape pieces of ivy on pegs or hooks nearby to enhance the natural feeling of the wreath.
- This wreath can be quite heavy, so make sure that if it is hanging from a hook or nail that it is secure on a wall that can take the weight.
- As you get nearer to Christmas you can add in some mistletoe – the white berries add something extra special to your wreath and it could come in useful should you have any guests!
Add a splash of colour to your home-made wreath with baubles and pom poms!
This step by step guide is taken from ‘WREATHS: Fresh, Foraged and Dried Floral Arrangements‘ by Katie Smyth and Terri Chandler (Quadrille, £14.99) Photography: Kristin Perers.