}

December 12, 2011

Botanical Wreaths from the Garden

A WALK AROUND THE GARDEN, CAN RESULT IN UNUSUAL MATERIALS FOR HOME-MADE WREATHS. THIS ALPINE WREATH WAS CONSTRUCTED WITH CLIPPINGS FROM ALPINE DAPHNE SPECIES, ERICA, HEATH, DWARF RHODODENDRON, REINDEER MOSS AND MINIATURE SHRUB CLIPPINGS.  

 Commercial wreaths can be so boring. On the Saturday following Thanksgiving, my father would take us on hikes into the woods to collect Holiday greens. Armed with large, musty burlap chicken grain bags that said "Blue Seal Feeds" on them, each of us would search for Kalmia, white pine, ground pines and Gaultheria ( oh, so illegal now!). Once home with our spoils, we warmed up with hot chocolate and mom's date nut bread, as dad prepared the living room floor with drop clothes. We would spend the night, making garlands, wreaths and berry bowls marking the official start of the Holiday season.

Clippings in the Alpine Wreath include miniature berried shrubs, dwarf alpine willow, and various lichens and mosses. 

Today, even if it was legal to collect native greens from endangered plants, I still like to live on the edge and 'steal' little pieces of some very precious shrubs and trees to make wreaths that are themed, and very special. This week, I am going to share some of my annual favorites including my Fletcher Steele inspired 'Golden Green' wreath, created from only golden needled shrubs, a homage to the late landscape architects gold border at the Stoddard Estate where I had my first job as a gardener during my high school years. I have also designed a beautiful yellow berried holly wreath with a rare golden-berried holly. Later in the week I may share those, but first, I share these two: An alpine wreath, with plant material collected from my alpine garden, made from rare Daphne species, arctic willows and other small shrubs, and a precious fresh olive wreath, made from fresh cut olive branches from one of the large Italian olive trees in the greenhouse.

Fresh olive greens make a Mediterranean statement, and a unique wreath for a New England home, since olive trees cannot be grown outdoors in zone 5. My annual December pruning session so that the larger plants in tubs will fit in the greenhouse provides enough olive, rosemary and bay laurel to make a few of these sweet wreaths for our home, or for special gifts.


3 comments :

  1. What wonderful wreaths, Matt. You definitely provide inspiration for the rest of us to try imaginative designs!
    Dorothy Swift, RI

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  2. Just beautiful Matt! Happy Holidays to you!

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  3. Very pretty! You are a great inspiration!

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