Christmas wreath making

Christmas wreath made from stuff from my garden

As a child, when you just don’t appreciate what you have, because you are a selfish, selfish little bastard, I was very keen to live in a huge house in America. I’d seen them on films. Double fronted houses with ballroom size rooms, fridges you could live in and gardens you inevitably got married in.

What I had was a two bedroomed flat in central London with no garden. Not even a window box. Nevermind that to have a house that big, you generally had to live in Wisconsin. Nevermind that, growing up, when all my friends had to take two buses and a train home, I could almost walk home or take an affordable taxi. Nevermind that I was near all the shops and, importantly, John Lewis. Nevermind that I never knew a world existed outside of Zone 1. (Does it?)

Come Christmas, I really wanted a wreath on my door. But this seemed completely out of place in our block of flats. So I never had one and thus, dear reader, I have been chasing Christmas wreaths ever since.

When I finally wrenched myself out of the west end and moved into Old Street, I had a huge, 2″ steel door which I decorated every Christmas with a wreath from Columbia Flower Market. It was not cheap.

When I moved to the country I decided to make my own wreath. After all, now that I had a garden to plunder why should I pay for someone else’s green frippery. But how to start? This is where the wonderful mums on I Want My Mum (a website I co-founded and now no more) helped me out. Someone directed me to this site. Now look. This isn’t the most glamorous site. But let me help you. What you need are these padded wreath bases, which as you will see, are cheap. They are great because, being green, even if you have gaps it doesn’t really show. We make a big one for the front door and a small one for the playhouse.

You gather lots of foliage (a word I can’t pronounce) and tie it round the wreath with this wreath binding wire. It takes a bit of practise but we always make really great  looking wreaths. I wouldn’t recommend the berries you can buy on  that site – too artificial looking, best if you can get some real ones (although if you live in the country, the birds swop down and try to eat them). I also add dried slices of orange and apple, you can add pine cones, whatever you damn well please. (Dry the fruit in a really low oven overnight or use a dehydrator.)

It’s a fun thing to do by yourself, with the children, etc. And aside from the wreath base (which you can re-use each year) it shouldn’t cost you anything if you can forage the foliage.

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