Posts tagged native plants

Making Wreaths


One activity I enjoy at this time of year is making a wreath for the door.  I especially like a natural wreath made with local materials.  For this project the  most fun is going into the woods to search out just the right boughs, berries and cones.  They must have variation in color and form to make it interesting.  There are a surprising variety of coniferous trees in our Maine woods so I quickly gather a nice assortment.


Cup of tea and binoculars at hand (just in case a bird lands by the window), materials sorted, wire, wreath form and clippers at the ready.  Let us begin!



Wire your elements together.  First wire cones, (leaving wire “tails” to secure them) then make an attractive bundle, (see below) wiring it all together with florist wire.  Leave about 4 inch wire “tails” on your bundle so you can wire it to the form.

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When you’ve got 10 or 12 bundles start wiring them to your wreath form individually using the 4″ lengths.  Attach the end of a roll of florist wire securely and wrap it around further securing each bundle as you go.  Place each bundle so it hides the base of the one before (I was working counter-clockwise in the picture above).


When you get to the final bundle arrange it so the base of the first bundle is hidden under the loose end of the last bundle.  You will have secured each bundle plus made sure it won’t get dislodged by wrapping it around the form with the running length of florist wire.


When you are finished make a loop in the wire for hanging, securing it tightly.  Then cut the wire off the roll.


If you don’t think your finished wreath will be full enough, put down a plain layer of branches for a base and lay your bundles over them.  This base will be secured by the running wire wrap as you go along.


herb wreath

Wreath of fresh herbs (smells  sooo good!)


Magnolia Wreath (see my post of December 14, 2013 for instructions)

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Exbury Azalea

In All Her Glory

In All Her Glory

I am gradually replacing our alien landscape plants (e.g., Asian broad leaf rhododendrons, Norway Maples, the dreaded invasives like Japanese Barberries and Winged Euonymous ) with bird friendly, deer resistant, low maintenance, attractive native plants.  One plant that remains in the native plantings near the driveway isn’t really bird friendly as there are no seeds or fruit that seem to attract the birds, but it is so lovely each spring I could never bear to part with it.  It is a hybrid of native deciduous azaleas from the Carolinas so I rationalize that it belongs.

This hybrid originated from seeds sent to England by John Bartram in 1734.  It went through several plant hybridizers who developed what is known as the Knaphill varieties before ending up with Baron Rothschild at his estate, Exbury, in Southampton, England.  The Baron worked with these varieties from 1922 through the period of the Second World War when the Exbury Azaleas were finally introduced to the public.  I planted this soon after we moved to our house 37 years ago and have moved it from a much shadier spot to this location where it is very happy.  No need to rationalize, just enjoy!

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