November/December 2018 California Bountiful magazine
Story by Pat Rubin
Photos by Bryan Patrick
Make your own wreaths from garden treasures
November 18, 2018 - By Pat Rubin - The golden days of fall are slowly turning into the colder days of winter. It's time to cut grapevines, honeysuckle, clematis or rosemary—anything that vines or produces long branches—for winter wreaths. It takes surprisingly little time to make them, and the wreaths make great gifts.
Leave them plain or decorate with a string of pumpkin lights, holiday decorations or flowers, berries or foliage—whatever you have or can glean from friends' gardens. Look around and use what you can find as much as possible—it makes your wreath unique.
For this one, you want interesting sticks, the straighter the better. Red, yellow or black twig dogwood, birch and poplar are good choices. Cut some longer, some shorter for variety. Here, I used poplar sticks with lichen and dried grapes.
- Start by laying sticks on one side of a square wire frame. Secure them with wire or string.
- Complete the remaining three sides, one at a time.
- Leave plain or decorate as desired.
Use the upright, not creeping, kind of rosemary and choose pliable branches. You can use a wire form, or simply cut longer branches and twist them around themselves.
- Secure the first branch to the wire form with brown waxed string or wire.
- Keep adding branches until you have circled the wire frame. Let some of the branches stick out for added character and interest.
- Add desired decorations, such as pine cones and a magnolia seed pod.
If you don't have grapevines in your garden, look along back roads for wild grapevines. You'll need eight to 10 vines, each 4 to 5 feet long. Avoid the woodiest parts of the vines, which tend to break rather than bend. Trim off most of the leaves, but leave the curly tendrils.
- Form your longest vine into a loose circle and twist the vine around itself. Tuck the ends into the vine.
- Add another vine, starting in a slightly different spot so all of the ends aren't in one place. Keep adding vines until the wreath is the desired thickness and size.
- Work in manzanita branches, juniper branches, hydrangea blooms or pyracantha berries. Secure them with wire or string.
More online: Gardening to-do list, Gardening Q&A and Pat's 15-Minute Garden
Reprinted with permission: California Farm Bureau Federation