In a portion of my garden I grow plants and flowers for making wreaths. These might be flowers that I dry, seedpods I harvest, vines that I braid or cones I collect. To supplement the material, I also obtain a U.S. Forest Service permit to harvest greens in our local forest. This permit varies year to year depending upon if my wife and I are selling wreaths or just making some for friends and family. However, I also keep an eye on the neighbors if they are trimming their pine or spruce trees and I'll take their boughs. Even the birch or aspen branches that get limbed offer some interesting twig tips that can be added.

OImagen my daily dog walks through the neighborhood I carry some bags to collect cones from the different trees. Most folks are happy to have someone pick up their cones and over a season of dog walks, I develop quite the stash.These may be added to greenery or specialty wreaths or hot glued to a ring to form a cone wreath.
Some years I harvest berries or fruits from trees that do well on wreaths. Snowberry, mountain ash, crab apples and elderberries are some of my favorites to collect. The shapes and colors add variety to a wreath and, if I am making bird seed wreaths, might go into these creations.
A trip to the nearby Oregon Coast often results in a bounty of seashells, driftwood, kelp and other treasures found on the beach. Though I sometimes feel like a human pack rat, I know that most of the material not used can go into the compost pile.

Wreath Bases

I often have a supply of metal wreath rings on hand due to the wreath making business. For hand tying, the double rings work best, as do the specialty rings designed for making cone wreaths or living wreaths. These vary in size, and youíll have to use wire or fishing line to secure the material to the rings. If I am ìaccessorizingî the wreaths by adding cones, pods, shells, etc., I first create the base layer, then either wire or hot glue the other materials onto the base.

Another type of metal ring is the clamp ring. These rings have ìearsî that are pinched over and hold the greenery to the ring. These work best with a clamp ring machine, a pedal-operated clamping device that uses pressure to pinch the clamps closed.
I grow hops and silver lace vines on our fences and often harvest the stems to braid into bases. If you live near a local winery or have access to grape vines, these also make great bases. Clematis vines or any long, pliable branches like from willows also make nice bases.
Using some floral wire or hot glue helps hold the woven pieces together, if needed. I also buy a few straw wreath bases each year because these work well for making dried flower wreaths. I might attach a large sunflower head into the opening, giving the birds something to feast upon during the winter.
With endless possibilities, and a little creative collecting, DIY holiday wreaths is pretty easy and a lot of fun. Plus, your friends, neighbors and family will appreciate a gift from your garden and one from the heart.