The birds are singing, the sun is shining and it feels as though spring has arrived. On the farm, there is much work to do; there’s been a flurry of spraying and fertiliser spreading, the spring beans have been sown and ground has been cultivated in preparation for Christmas tree planting.
In a burst of spring clearing in the garden, I cut down the catmint and lavender and finally took down the hanging basket that has been hanging forlornly outside the kitchen window for
months years. I’m useless at looking after hanging baskets. I forget to water them and then I don’t notice that the plants have died and that the anticipated cascade of brilliantly coloured flowers has been replaced by a tangled mass of brown leaves with one bright green weed determinedly pushing through. For the last two years, I haven’t even planted this hanging basket and I’ve felt moderately guilty every time I glanced at it.
The bracket looked rather bare without the basket so I decided to decorate it with something low maintenance. In one of our fields we have a willow tree that years ago fell across the track. The top of the trunk was sawn off but the uprooted base remained and every year sends up new growth, just within my reach. I had an idea that I could cut some of these whippy willow branches to make a willow ball that I could hang from the bracket. Then practical common sense prevailed and I decided that a wreath would be an awful lot easier and quicker. A heart shaped one seemed spring-like, though I’m not sure why.
Should you be thinking about making a wreath to celebrate spring or Mothering Sunday or Easter or just because you can, here’s how to do it. Now is the time to cut willow though hazel or any flexible branch will do the job.
You’ll need six whippy branches about 140 centimetres long, some florists wire and twine or raffia.
Use the branches as soon as you’ve cut them so that they’re still flexible and bend them into a U shape. They won’t hold their shape but they will stay a bit bent. Divide into two bunches of three and lay them on the table with the thin twiggy ends crossing over diagonally and wire these ends together.
Now, take the thick end of the left hand bunch and bend it over so that it crosses the right hand bunch about 25cms above the wired crossover. Wire it into place and then repeat with the right hand bunch onto the left, threading the branches through the already bent branches, rather than simply laying them on top, as this will hold the shape better.
Use twine or raffia to cover the wire (or holding the branches in place, remove the wire and replace with twine, raffia, ribbon or whatever). Trim the thick ends of the branches to neaten and use a piece of twine or ribbon to make a hanging loop.
Decorate. You can wire in your decorations but I just poked flowers in as I shall replace them when they start to die and will probably add more at Easter.
Hang. On a door or from a tree or bracket where it will turn in the breeze. Hang it inside. Hang it outside.
The wreath will last for ages so you can decorate it through the year. I’ve made a stack of hearts (because they’re so easy) and shall decorate them with roses in summer, perhaps with a little lavender threaded through and in autumn they can be decorated with rosehips and ivy. If you’re handy with the crochet hook then you could crochet a multitude of flowers as Elizabeth did here.
Instructions for a round wreath