This is an edited repost from my now-defunct blog, Words That Can Only Be Your OwnFor me, nothing quite says 'Christmas' like bringing boughs of evergreens into the house. From pagan yule logs to modern wreaths, the custom of using holly, ivy and other evergreens to decorate the house in December is an ancient one that has lasted thousands of years. However, wreaths made from fresh foliage can be very expensive to buy - understandable, as they're time-consuming to put together. But with a bit of foraging for free greenery plus an hour of patience and sore fingers, you can make a wreath that's just as beautiful as a store-bought one.
You will need:
A wreath base (usually made of moss over a wire ring - I found mine on eBay for less than £2)
Armfuls of greenery - at least two different kinds but the sky's the limit. I used cypress, holly, eucalyptus, ivy, pine and hebe
Secateurs or strong scissors
3 metres ribbon
Assortment of decorations - I dried some orange slices and teamed them with foraged pine cones and cinnamon sticks tied together with scraps of ribbon
1. First, forage for your greenery. You don't need to live in the countryside for this: I picked up the pinecones from under a tree on a nearby industrial estate, the eucalyptus was from my mum's back garden, the hebe from a shrub in my yard, the ivy cut on various walks along the local canal, and the cypress, holly and pine from friends gardens.
3. Your wreath will be made up of multiple bundles of greenery, each affixed to the base. Gather a small piece of 3-4 different evergreens and pull together to form a bouquet. As I had 6 different kinds of evergreens, I varied the contents (so one had holly, pine and eucalyptus, while the next had hebe, ivy and cypress, for instance).
4. Bend a length of wire to form a U-shape at one end, approx. 1 inch long. Place the U at the base of the bouquet (with the remaining wire pointing away from it) and then wind the wire around the bundle two or three times, to hold the bundle together securely. You should be left with about 15cm of wire still pointing away from the bouquet.
5. Push the long piece of wire through your base, bend and push back in again to secure.
7. At this point you may find some bundles need another piece of wire looped around and pushed into the base to ensure they're completely secure.
8. Again using wire, attach the decorations at intervals.
9. Cut 2 metres from your ribbon and loop it through the inside of the wreath. Tie the remaining metre into a bow around the hanging ribbon, trimming the ends neatly.
11. Step back and admire your work! Wreaths made from fresh foliage will survive for about three to four weeks if hung outside in the cold.