Christmas Wreath Making
Last week, I arrived at the kitchen at the Mill to find our gardening team, Emily and Debbie, ensconced with my mother in the kitchen, up to their ears in foliage and with Bing Crosby’s Christmas carols on full blast. They were making Christmas wreaths, from produce grown in the garden and some of our surrounding woodland. Ivy, holly, fir cones, teasels, berries, bright red chillies (!), slices of dried oranges and sprigs of evergreen were piled high. Whilst it looked like a scene of pleasant chaos, they have actually been very organised. Emily had been testing the shelf life of each plant by making wreaths throughout November, to ensure only the long lasting plants were used, and paired with those of similar longevity. She has also been testing how each plant dries, to ensure the wreaths look their best for as long as possible. They dried the orange slices way back in the summer, and the chillies, a welcome dash of red, were grown in our greenhouse and also strung up to dry.
To make the wreaths, they wove strips of soaked willow with some fresh hazel to form the circular bases. Each base was then decorated with fragrant evergreen sprigs, and bunches of berries, oranges and chillies were added last of all for bursts of colour. Every single wreath they made was entirely individual, so no two wreaths are the same. A number of them now adorn the doors at the Mill, and the rest have gone to our office to be sold to any local visitors or customers.
The real joy in these wreaths was in the making of them, getting the team together for tea, cake and music, and creating something beautiful from our home grown and wild produce. We hope our visitors love them as much as we do!
Keeping warm by the fire on a frosty November morning