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Making your own Christmas wreath helps you to get into the festive spirit. Why not include the children when gathering materials from the garden and for adding the finishing touches? Wreaths also make a great present for friends and neighbours.
You can use the traditional ivy and holly with berries (or their variegated forms), spruce and pine, experiment with box, Magnolia grandiflora, osmanthus, Viburnum tinus and bay. For a more rustic wreath, you can use twisted stems of hazel, birch, dogwood, willow, honeysuckle and vines and decorate with rose hips or the fluffy seed heads of old man's beard (Clematis vitalba).
Wreaths positioned outdoors will last four or five weeks, so preparations can begin in late November. Indoor wreaths will look fresh for one or two weeks, depending on how warm it is.
Assemble the materials: one wire ring*, one bag of sphagnum moss* (moss from your lawn usually works equally well), plenty of holly, cut into 12.5-15cm (5-6in) sections, one reel of 0.56mm annealed wire*, a 19g pack of 22.5cm (9in) Florists stubbing wire*, secateurs and a bow to decorate. You can use a pre-made padded wreath base* rather than making your own.
* Available in florists etc
Pine wreath with cones
Colour winter stem wreath
Willows and dogwoods grown for their winter stems make a great alternative wreath. No base is needed. Simply collect 12-15 young, flexible stems at least 1.5m (5ft) long.
Old man's beard (Clematis vitalba) 'tinsel' wreath
The fluffy seed heads of this hedgerow clematis make great natural tinsel.
Wreaths are generally trouble free but, with evergreen wreaths, the moss must be kept moist to prevent the foliage from withering and they last better outdoors, while those with clematis 'tinsel' do better indoors.
Bulbs for Christmas floweringChristmas cactus (Schlumbergera)Christmas-flowering houseplantsChristmas treesHippeastrumMistletoe
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