Don’t panic, there’s still time to be making your Christmas decorations. Your garden has a wealth of materials you can use for making your own decorations. Making Christmas wreaths from natural materials can be both rewarding and good for the environment. Here’s how to create a stunning oversized wreath, with directions from Charlie Ryrie. Head to our Christmas hub for more ideas, and why not try to make this beautiful bird’s nest wreath, also created by Charlie Ryrie.
Materials and tools needed for your huge Christmas wreath
- Natural twine
- 30 willow rods 1.2-1.5m long, freshly picked from hedgerow or garden, or soaked in water for 24 hours to make them pliable
- Large bundle of greenery, such as a selection of Leyland cyprus (x Cupressocyparis leylandii), juniper (Juniperus communis), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), bay (Laurus nobilis) and cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii)
- 10-20 sprigs of curly willow (Salix x sepulcralis ‘Erythroflexuosa’) or yellow dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’)
- Length of old man’s beard (Clematis vitalba)
- This giant, green wreath looks particularly inviting on a barn door but could be used to decorate any bare external wall. Its base is also a willow hoop, this time made on the ground.
- Cut ten pieces of willow to make pegs about 20cm long, with one pointed end.
- For a 1m-diameter wreath, tie a 50cm length of string on to one peg, and place it in the ground. This will be the centre of your circle.
- Stretch out the string and place the first peg at the point where the string ends, then place the other eight pegs at regular intervals around the central peg, using string to measure their positions.
- Weave lengths of willow between the pegs, pressing them firmly together and starting each new length by tucking the ends in just before a peg. You don’t need a single willow rod for each layer of the circle, just keep tucking the ends in with each new length.
- After five or six layers, pull the hoop upwards from the pegs, leaving them in the ground.
- Twist more lengths of willow over and under the hoop to make it secure. Weave any ends into the hoop.
- Then decorate your wild hoop by tucking and poking lengths of greenery into the woven willow at regular intervals, building it up until you are satisfied with the distribution and texture.
The only rule is to add all the green material in the same direction. You can use pieces of twine to secure the greenery, but the more materials you add, the less likely you are to need extra ties and the wreath can be self-supporting. The longer you cut your greenery, the looser the wreath will be. If you want it tighter, just use shorter pieces.