Natural wreath with dried Hydrangea flower heads
Natural wreath with dried Hydrangea flower heads
© Bren Haas, Botanical and Craft Photographer

Wreaths to decorate your door are easy to make, so while the kids are playing in the fallen and dried leaves, grab your clippers and clip a few berries and flowers to make your own wreath.

To start the wreath, you need a base of twigs/small bent branches or wire. You can make these yourself but they are easy to pick up from the craft store. A twig base is ready to decorate while the wire ones need a background of greenery or other material. With the base filled, you add the decorations and finally add some finishing touches such as a bow or maybe a spray of snow on the arrangement.

Natural wreath with evergreen branches and pine cones
Natural wreath with evergreen branches and pine cones
© Bren Haas, Botanical and Craft Photographer

To fill a wire wreath

Almost any evergreen material can be used to make the background – holly, boxwood, pine or cedar branches all make good background material for winter wreaths while straw makes a good base for fall.  For a straw filled wreath, place the straw around the hoop form and secure with wire.

For a green background, gather small bunches of the material and wire together then place onto the wreath at the top. The second bunch overlaps the first bunch by about one half. Continue wiring stems together and placing them onto the wreath base until the whole base is filled. It is important to keep going in the same direction while laying your bunches of stems and place the final group so that the base of the stems go under the needles of the first group. Some pines, like white pines, have long needles which give a very informal or shaggy appearance to the wreath. To give a neater look, take your wire and loop it over the wreath to bring those wayward needles in and make a neater circle to work with.

Now comes the fun part – decorating the wreath

There are not really any rules for the decoration side, and a lot will depend on the material that you use but here are some ideas:

Hydrangea heads: Great for fall wreaths or winter wreaths indoor or out. Many hydrangeas, whether their bloom is white, pink or blue, mature to a dusty pink which holds up beautifully when picked. If you prefer other colors, they are sturdy enough to be spray painted too!

Little pumpkins: The very small pumpkins are dried and anchored to the wreath with a pin.

Colorful chili peppers: let these little red peppers add bright color to your fall wreath.

Holly berries: The red berries mature in November and are perfect for winter wreaths but look for yellow berries on some holly and winterberry species (Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Gold’). Remember that hollies need male and female plants to produce the berries).

Callicarpa berries: This easy to grow shrub is attractive all year around but in fall it produces iridescent purple berries which stay on the bare branches all winter for the birds. Trim a few of these berry clusters for your outdoor wreath.

Andromeda (Pieris Japonica)
Andromeda (Pieris Japonica)

Andromeda (Pieris japonica): This old fashioned shrub produces groups of flowers in early spring, but the pre-flower forms in fall. The small white flowers are protected by a waxy coat. This makes an attractive white grouping for your outdoor wreath – indoors the flowers soon come out and drop onto the floor.

Artemesias: There are several Artemisia varieties such as Silver Mound and Silver King which have small white flower clusters in late summer or fall. These give a nice contrast on a green background.

When you have put the decoration onto the wreath it is time for the final touches:

  • Bows are a common addition and can be placed anywhere on the wreath.
  • Bittersweet and Virginia creeper vines and several other vines turn bright red in fall and when wound around the wreath looks attractive – note that poison ivy is also red in fall and you don’t want to pick that by mistake.
  • Spray painted effects give a little layer of snow over the wreath, or sparkles to the berries.
  • Finally hang your wreath on the door or garden gate to be admired by everyone!

For added fun, get a group of friends and have a wreath making party!

Using dried material from the garden or wayside really does not need a lot of artistic talent to make an attractive wreath.