The National Trust as always is a great place to visit throughout the year. Hinton Ampner is one of my favourite and I can highly recommend a family visit there over the festive period. I’ll shortly be posting up events locally with they are hosting but in the meantime why not join the National Trust in making your own wreath? Hinton Ampners Louise Washington has kindly shared with us her step by step techniques to making your own wreath this year.
How to make a Christmas wreath, by Louise Washington
Oasis wreath in plastic frame
Florist wire pieces
Cut foliage – yew, variegated holly, garrya
Scots pine cones
Thoroughly soak the oasis, then attach a wire looped hook or tie on raffia or ribbon for hanging. Push in pieces of yew around the outside edge of the oasis, making sure they are not too long or they will break.
Continue until you have gone all the way around, then place pieces of yew inside the circle.
Add pieces of holly on top of the yew, working your way around the oasis, then use the holly to fill in any gaps.
Hold up your wreath to check the shape. Be careful not to make one side heavier than the other, or it won’t hang straight. Visualise where to place three feature clusters, always work in odd numbers for detailing. Hold out the wreath at arm’s length to see the best position. Push in the three clusters of garrya leaves and their catkins, secure with looped wires.
Wire three pine cones and add one on the top of each of the clusters.
Make a bow with the wire across the ribbon
Position the bow on the wreath using the ends of the wire. Take a critical look and see if any adjustments or changes are needed. Top up with water as needed by using a spray bottle.
Personalise your wreath
This wreath is a play on greens with different shades, highlighted with variegated foliage.
· Silver and gold variegated plants can add extra sparkle.
· Don’t use more than trhee variegated forms or it will look messy.
· Plant choices include – holly, ivy, yew, hypericum, box, spruce, eucalyptus, viburnum, bay, rosemary, winter jasmine, nandina, mistletoe, sarcococca, stems of coloured dogwoods and willows, contorted hazels, physalis, rose hips, seed heads of alliums or teasel, globe artichokes, snowberries, callicarpa, euonymus, pyracantha cotoneaster, skimmia, crab apple, pieris
· For an extra zing add a sparing touch of spray-paint.
· To attach fruit or berries – thread on wire or spike with a toothpick or cane.
Add a secret meaning
Holly – protection, good luck.
Ivy – fidelity, protection, healing, marriage, victory, good luck.
Mistletoe – peace, prosperity,wellness, fertility.
Oak – endurance, strength, triumph, protection, good luck.
Evergreens – continuity of life, protection, prosperity.
Yew – death, last day of the solar year.
Fir – rebirth.
Birch – new beginnings.
Wheat – sustenance, abundance, fertility, good luck.