You can make your own festive Christmas wreath at area garden centers. (Getty Images)

You can make your own festive Christmas wreath at area garden centers. (Getty Images)

Get in the holiday swing of things — make a wreath

Area garden centers have the greenery and equipment so you can make a one-of-a-kind decoration for your home.

For the last two years, I have been missing one of my favorite activities this time of year: wreath-making at my favorite garden center. Before the pandemic, wreath-making had become an annual holiday ritual for our family. Well, I am happy to report that Sunnyside Nursery (along with other garden centers in the area) are now offering this activity once again, and I for one can’t wait to reserve a spot.

Here is a little information about what goes on behind the scenes to make this all happen.

To prepare for wreath-making workshops, garden centers usually buy in an assortment of mixed greens from a wholesaler as well as sending their staff out to collect a variety of plant material from the neighborhood (with permission, of course). In our Northwest gardens, one can find evergreens, twigs, berries and dried flower stalks. Pine, spruce, cryptomeria, cedar, cypress, sequoia, yew, juniper and thujopsis can all be found growing in our local landscapes. Broadleaf evergreens like English and Japanese holly, evergreen huckleberry and box-leaf honeysuckle can also provide nice accents. Dried flowers and seed heads, such as Siberian iris, statice, yarrow, hydrangeas, golden hops vine, dock, native spiraea, teasel and cattails, can add further visual interest. Even a noxious weed like Scotch broom offers a unique texture to a holiday wreath.

Once all of this plant material has been collected and cut into appropriately sized pieces by the nursery staff, it is relatively easy for anyone to select and assemble them into a unique creation. With the wreath machines and wire forms used today, it is so easy that you will amaze yourself with your creativity. Add a ribbon or bow if you like, or maybe a treasured ornament, then go home and hang it up outside (it will dry out too fast indoors). I have had wreaths last clear up to Valentine’s Day!

While it may be a lot easier just to pick up a ready-made wreath from the market, nothing will ever compare to the homemade version that you assemble all by yourself. You can make it wild and crazy with lots of textural contrast or safe and sane with perfect symmetry and a minimal number of decorations. Whatever you decide on, it will be unique and one of a kind — just like you.

In addition to dressing up your home, making wreaths is also a great way to reconnect with the garden this time of year. It is a chance to re-purpose our plants and give them one more time in the spotlight before they are relegated to the compost heap. Maybe best of all, especially after a two-year hiatus, it’s an opportunity to spend some quality time with family and friends and build a tradition that will last for years — you’ll come away with much more than a decoration for your front door. Along the way, you’ll gain a better appreciation for the bounty of the Northwest and create a memory to look forward to again this time next year.

At Sunnyside, wreath-making is running every day until Dec. 18. Garden centers are taking reservation now and if for some reason you just don’t have time to make one yourself, you can often have the garden center make a custom one for you. They will even mail it for you if you want to gift it to someone special — what could be easier than that?

Steve Smith represents Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at sunnysidenursery@msn.com.

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