Decorated Christmas wreaths are a snap using a pre-made wreath base from a garden center or grocery store. The pre-made wreaths created with basic greens make a fine base but adding some additional greens, berries, and ribbon, takes the ordinary to extraordinary. Below is my base which I purchased at a local store-basic fir branches wired onto a base. Nothing wrong with it all-just could be better!
After trolling through my landscape which has quite a few evergreens and berried shrubs, I added incense cedar, boxwood, and magnolia leaves which really add a textural improvement. My containers grew a bumper crop of Eucalyptus which I preserved with a glycerin solution and I wired some clumps up for a grey green hue. Some variegated white pine added some additional color and texture. Big difference….yes? Oh, and I hot glued all of this onto the base. No wiring, which takes too much time and effort. I find gluing is efficient and quick.
After these additions to the base materials, it was time to amp up the color with berries and ribbon. Gold is one of my favorite colors for wreaths and other decorations, so I chose this beautiful gold wired ribbon and added nandina berries for color and staying power. A find at my local craft store, the gold leaf ornaments added some glitter and dimension. Again, these were all glued in place.
For more ideas on wreaths, go to my post A Tapestry of Holly-McLean Nursery. Below is a masterpiece made to order at McLean, using the signature McLean hollies and winterberry.
Ripping out 50 failing English boxwoods on a landscape job this year turned into a decorating opportunity. Rather than taking the old shrubs out and chipping and shredding them, I decided to use the still green parts for some boxwood Christmas trees.
A traditional decoration, boxwood trees are simple to make but time consuming. Boxwood sprigs inserted into saturated oasis lasts for at least 2 months in a green fresh looking form. After the holidays, you can even keep your tree which will dry nicely, and spray it gold for next year. Boxwood trees are easy to make and inexpensive if you have boxwood on hand. If you have to buy it though, it is expensive. I own several shrubs that need some attention and wait until early December to give them a thinning so I can use all those fresh greens and not throw them away.
When I thin my boxwood, I just grab a bunch of boxwood and snap it off at the woody stem. I call it ‘snapping boxwood’ and savvy gardeners do this to keep all their boxwood healthy. Beautiful boxwood requires periodic thinning to let air circulate throughout. Most people will sheer their shrubs which just stimulates the boxwood to grow in even thicker, blocking air flow.
Snapping off hunks of the foliage, creates spaces within the boxwood which aids in air circulation and leads to a healthier shrub. When I talk ‘boxwood’, I am referring to both English, American, and Korean. Though the English is superior for making wreaths and trees, I use any kind that I can get.
Boxwood Tree Directions
Soak your cut boxwood in a tub of warm water overnight to hydrate the greens and keep them fresh longer
Choose a small plastic container and add a chunk of oasis for the base. Tape in with florist tape and add some picks.
Insert your cone on top of the picks
At this point I add a few wood picks from the side of the cone into the base to make sure everything is secure
I pick out a nice looking boxwood piece to form the peak. Once I stick that piece in, it gives me a guide to green up the rest of the tree.
Starting at the bottom, I break off pieces of boxwood and insert them into the oasis around the edge of the container first and move up. I added another variety of green (thujopsis) to the tree to give more textural interest. But if you are a purist, stick with boxwood
Add floral touches, like white pom poms, red roses, and small Christmas balls directly into the oasis; be sure to leave gaps to insert these elements
Insert your pieces of boxwood and flowers with care; If you insert them too densely, you could break apart the oasis
Spray the tree with an anti-dessicant, like Wilt-Pruf to keep the tree fresh for weeks
For care, I will mist it with water maybe once a week, and make sure that the oasis is thoroughly soaked through to keep it green and fresh
Succulents are so popular now, that you see them everywhere, where you would least expect it. I have bought some of my best ones from Wall Mart and Home Depot! They are inexpensive and easy to care for, so are the perfect candidate to make your own living wreath, which at a florist would set you back by at least $100. The material cost for this wreath was around $45.00.
Succulents come in a huge variety of shapes and colors
I am amazed at what you can do with old garden hoses! Here is another project to make using a small garden hose of 25 to 50′ in length. Take a piece of hose including the nozzle end and roll it into a wreath shape, a size that will fit on your door. Fasten it securely together with barkwire, a wire that is covered with a covering to look like bark. I get this at a craft store. Wind the ends around a pencil to mimic grapevine tendrils.
Then start adding your accessories. I used a trough, gardening gloves, a watering can, burlap, and a flower pot. Attach firmly using the bark wire. I also made a loop on the back for hanging.
I finished it off with some burlap ribbon and wound some of the bark wire around the entire wreath. You are done! This will last for years.
This would also be fun using different colors of hoses, like yellow.