Make wreath-making a holiday tradition

Despite the fact that you and I both know there are still serious gardening chores to accomplish before the end of the year, the truth is that our thoughts are turning to the holidays and decorating.

It actually started last month for Halloween with inflated ghosts and witches, haunted houses, lights and, of course, corn stalks, bales of straw and pumpkins. Next up is Thanksgiving, which is mostly a harvest theme and then it’s onto the Christmas season with wreaths, swags and holly berries.

Gardeners have lots of options when it comes to decorating for the holidays.

Premade wreaths and garlands can be purchased almost anywhere and oftetimes there are charity fundraisers where you can purchase a wreath while donating to a worthy cause. But there is nothing quite as satisfying as making your own holiday decorations. With the help of websites like Pinterest and independent garden centers that have classes, there is no excuse for not having one-of-a-kind homemade decorations.

Wreath making these days is a piece of cake. With wreath machines and wire forms it is so easy, you will amaze yourself with your creativity. Your wreath will look nothing like the cookie-cutter ones you see in the stores.

It all starts with a foundation of noble fir. From there you can add your personal touch with twigs, berries, cones and special evergreens, either from your garden or from the store.

You can create wild and woolly wreaths with curly willow twigs shooting out like bottle rockets and fuzzy buds from the stag horn sumac nestled in amongst the greenery like sleeping elk. Or you can make a wreath that is nice and tidy with perfect symmetry and clean, crisp edges with just a subtle accent of cones.

You can tell a lot about a person by the type of wreath he or she makes. There is no such thing as “one size fits all.”

Once you start making wreaths you begin to look at the landscape in a whole new way. Suddenly what was a bloomed-out perennial ready for dead-heading is a treasured prize for your next wreath. Even a noxious weed like Scotch broom offers a unique texture to a holiday wreath. Berries from nandina, along with its feathery foliage, are also wonderful additions to a wreath.

The possibilities are endless and that is what makes it all so much fun. Even just collecting these plants and making an arrangement next to the front door will work wonders towards creating a holiday feeling.

As the weather deteriorates and we feel less and less inclined to garden, making wreaths becomes a great way to reconnect with nature.

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. You’ll gain a better appreciation for the bounty of the Northwest and create a memory to look forward to this time next year.

Check out the local garden centers for opportunities for wreath making. You’ll be glad you did.

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached online at info@sunnysidenursery.net.

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Make-A-Wreath starts Nov. 19 and runs through Dec. 11.

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