I have been planning to organise a winter wreath making class with a kind of natural twist for a long time. For years I have been dreaming about a class where we create beautiful natural wreaths using scented evergreens, aromatic shrubby herbs, heady citrus fruits, winter berries, cones and several additional dried flowers, seed heads gathered throughout the year. I found the perfect location very much local to Botanika, near Ditchling, the beautiful, tranquil setting of Stoneywish Nature Reserve. The reserve is open from spring to autumn to public for walks, picnics and a walk around their quaker farm and museum. Our winter wreath workshop was held in the barn set in amongst the meadows and woodlands.
WINTER WREATH INGREDIENTS
Making traditional mossed wreaths on wire frames, we used beautiful quality moss from Northumberland, British grown evergreen foliages such as spruce, rosemary, various eucalyptus varieties with different shaped leaves and textures, shades of blue and silver, pittosporum green and variegated amongst others. There were plenty of berries to choose from too, including budded eucalyptus branches, viburnum, cranberries, chillies, apples and glorious dried hydrangea heads.
WARMING FESTIVE GATHERING
A winter workshop would not be complete without generous amount of festive nibbles. Mince pies are a staple but I also made a tasty almond and cardamom kringle wreath, which is a sweet Norwegian wreath shaped bread scented with cardamom and filled with almond paste. I make this every year at home and the perfect sweet treat to share with lots of friends around Christmas. Warm spiced apple juice kept us cosy too.
STEP BY STEP WREATH MAKING
I find the easiest way of teaching wreath making is to break up the process to bite size sections. We learned to make the mossed wreath base first, then added structural elements, branches, twigs with catkins, before choosing the evergreen ingredients to create a fresh emerald backdrop for all the added natural decorations.
Once everyone was happy with their design, we all took several photos of the lush wreaths displayed on the perfectly fitting brick wall backdrop. This year I also prepared a festive floral goodie bag for all attendees to take home as a little special treat and a thank you for joining us this year. Tapered Danish candles in muted and brighter colours, selected flowers seeds for growing next season - all my favourite blooms that make excellent cut flowers or great for drying for winter designs. Accompanied by detailed wreath making instructions for years to come.
SPECIAL THANK YOU
To all the ladies who came and joined us this year at this workshop, and also to Eva Nemeth for taking such fantastic images of our morning gathering. Eva also wrote an account of this workshop over on her blog