Six Steps to Creating a Sustainable and Fully Home Compostable Wreath this Christmas - Brigitte Girling
More than ever, many of us are seeking ways to enjoy the festive season in a more considered and sustainable way. Christmas is often associated with excess, overindulgence, glitter and baubles but it doesn’t have to be like that. It can be a time to be more pared back, more natural, bringing the outside in and celebrating nature. Think less plastic, more winter treasures, especially when considering your Christmas wreath.
Historically people used to decorate their homes with simple gatherings from the hedgerow, which added scent, colour and a sense of life to gloomy rooms in the darkest months. Of course, our gardens and the hedgerow are still filled with those same seasonal and natural potential decorations, ripe for gathering, to decorate our homes today. Once you let go of the idea of sparkle and razzmatazz and begin to think of texture, greenery, seed heads and branches, a whole new way of decorating becomes available again.
This wreath, created on 9th December 2021, is made entirely with gatherings from my garden. There are no wires, no floral foam base, no baubles or plastic flowers. In fact, at the end of the festive period it can simply be placed on your compost heap where it can breakdown over the coming year ready to feed and nurture your garden into life again. What could be more wonderful than that? True Christmas magic!
Here’s what I used…
- Honeysuckle vine
- Birch twigs
- Oak branches still retaining leaves
- Cotoneaster branches with a few berries
- Hops I had gathered and dried in the autumn
There are of course, a million other things I could have used such as, ivy, spruce, dried flowers, dried grasses, holly, seed heads, hydrangea, any number of evergreens…you get the idea. It really is simply a matter of personal choice and what you have available. The only thing to bear in mind is whether your ingredients will last for two or three weeks outside on your front door. But frankly, if they have come from your winter garden, they most likely will!
So, here’s how I made my wreath step by step...
With my sharp snips and some unbleached garden twine to hand, I created a loosely woven base of honeysuckle vine. I like everything I make to be wild and free form, so I was not concerned about making a perfect circle. I then, very sparingly, tied in loose, unruly ends with the twine.
Next, I added in some birch twigs, some still holding on to a few catkins. I pushed them into the base of honeysuckle and if necessary, secured with a touch of twine. It’s worth mentioning that the more you add to the wreath base the more secure and sturdy the whole creation becomes, meaning less twine is required.
I carefully added in the oak branches and cotoneaster. I don’t like my creations to be too ordered. I like them to look natural and as if they may still be growing. Consequently, I didn’t spread these ingredients around evenly, I simply clustered them together.
Next, I added in bracken; again, simply poked and secured into the honeysuckle base. It added a bit of depth to the whole design. Not the star of the show but an important backing singer!
Hops were next. These added some freshness to the colour and more texture, filling out the wreath.
I stood back and looked at the overall shape and movement of the design. I decided it needed a little more bracken to add more depth, especially on the right side and then that was it - finished!
Lastly, I just needed a hanging point, so I threaded a loop of twine through the honeysuckle at the top and secured with a knot. I also checked that everything was reasonably secure and if not tied it in with more twine. Afterall the weather in December can be a bit blowy!
Simple, wild and organic!
My wreath is now hanging proudly on my front to door to welcome my Christmas guests. And for me the best bit really is knowing that this is one hundred percent biodegradable and home compostable. There is no plastic waste, and because my garden is chemical and pesticide free, there are no nasties in there either. I rather hope a few ladybirds might consider it a cosy winter billet too. Wouldn’t that be lovely!
I hope you have fun creating your wreath this Christmas. Do let me know how you get on. I would love to see the beauty you’ve made!
Brigitte Girling of Moss & Stone Undone Florals
Want to learn more about floral artistry? Be sure to take a look at Brigittes online courses, use the code winter10 for 10% off throughout December! See the range of courses here.