Simple wreaths

You know how it goes. You walk past the guest house and notice the ivy is making a dash for the top.

I am trying to train the ivy to clothe the rather ghastly rock I found underneath the jungle when I cleared this steep bank a few years ago. But ever thus – the plant wants sunshine and light and up it goes.

Pulling ivy off stone walls is marvellously diverting. Especially when you are supposed to be doing something more important like bringing in firewood, or feeding the horses.

But it did give me an idea.

I stupidly tidied up my mess of wires a few months ago. All had gone to the tip. So that meant the usual idea of making wreaths with twists of wire had to go. If you ever see tutorials about wreath making or delve in books they do make quite a production of it. The page of ‘things you need before you start’ can be daunting. So I have gone the opposite direction here.

I needed plenty of longer and whippier ivy to get the same effect.

And that meant a bit of unplanned pruning of the ivy throttling the cherry tree at the top potager as well.

Having assembled ingredients in the potting shed I just needed to sort the problem of pest cat who didn’t understand why I wasn’t paying attention to her.

One box fluffed up with extra blankets and she was happy to monitor from the other side of the potting benches. (Yes that is the Death Stare. I was ignoring it.)

So it looks a mess.

I really should have planned a better photo essay today. But it really was one of those ‘what shall I take over to tea with my neighbour?’

And it is. But as long as you can make a circle and secure the ends of the ivy that’s your base. Just make the circle and twist as you go and then secure the end back somewhere in the greenery.

Lay it flat and decide which is the ‘top’. Add foliage in a design that is more or less balanced.

I shoved the stiff yew prunings (the tree is growing too close to a path) at the end to make it a bit less tight. I think if it is fluffy and a bit unkempt it retains its simple charm.

For this wreath I chose just ivy, some yew, the iridescent fruit of the viburnum tinus.

They are all just pushed in between the tight strands of the twisted ivy. So this wreath might not last long.

For the larger one I decided to add a bit more colour. So I interspersed the yew and ivy with some dried yellow achillea coarcta (is that how it’s spelt?) and a few sprigs of the rosemary Sappho which is just starting to flower. Oh and honesty for a bit of dazzle.

Once again I used the longer rosemary branches to give the wreath a bit of dynamism. It looks like it’s about to take off in all directions.

These go perfectly at Solene’s entrance way – I didn’t know how perfectly they would go with a candle. The plain wreath is just hooked onto a door. When it’s lit the honesty really sparkles.

I will go and get some wire this week to tie in some of the dried orange slices I made in a slow oven for hours and hours. They last for years – unless you give away all your wreaths.

But I definitely think I will keep the wreaths simple this year. I might make some out of the olive branches I need to prune.

But I won’t be using the flowering spikes of the phlomis. They are much to brittle for anything more than upright in a pot.