My foraged wreath with My Luscious Backyard

At the My Luscious Backyard, workshop magic began with this foraged wreath kit – a great package of scavenged materials

On December 5th, 2015, Mr TG dropped me off at Propellor Coffee in the west end – and lucky for me he did, as I found on my way home with my delicate foraged wreath in hand. The subway was closed west of St. George. My return trip required a series of interesting dance moves, in crowded quarters, with my wreath overhead like a halo, and many excuse-me-excuse-me-excuse-mes.

But I didn’t suspect this when I arrived in Propellor’s back room, where My Luscious Backyard foraged wreath guru and flower-grower extraordinaire Sarah Nixon had our goodies laid out to begin wreath-making. I couldn’t wait to unpack my twine-wrapped package. It held different types of evergreenery (like spruce, pine and juniper), some with baby cones or berries attached, a few sprays of miniature rosehips, and a sprig or two of euonymus. Under it all was a twisted grapevine wreath.

The first step in the workshop was to watch Sarah demonstrate the technique. After deciding which is the top of the wreath (so you have something to hang it from), her no-tie method simply involved snipping small sprays of evergreen and wedging the cut ends into the vine frame. Each bit of evergreen shingles over the piece before, layering them all in one direction.
Here is my wreath in progress. Sarah had started with spruce, taking it about two-thirds the way around, then varied it using other materials. But there’s really no right or wrong way. I didn’t have quite as much spruce in my kit, so I filled in here and there with bits of soft white pine. I saved the most interesting bits like the budded false cypress and a branch of juniper, thick with blue berries (which are really fleshy cones – did you know that?) for the bottom.
My wreath is almost done. As well as the kit we each received, Sarah supplied a basket of larger cones and a vase of branches, so we could give our wreath more personal quirks. All her materials were foraged, with permission, from neighbours’ gardens or from vacant lots, and she wasn’t greedy, leaving some for others. Think about that when foraging.
A close up of the tiny rose hips and the catkins and lichen on my foraged branch of (I think) birch. [Ed: I should add that we added the cones and branches, tying them in with raffia-wrapped wire – a handy tool to have in your craft kit.]
Not a great shot of Sarah’s wreath, which in real life looks fabulous, but a nice one of the always photogenic Sarah Nixon. Unfortunately, this was her only workshop this winter. But asking her about the possibility of spring wreaths put a maybe-not-a-bad-idea look on her face. So keep your eyes open, just in case.
Yes, my foraged wreath did make it safely home on the subway, and is now welcoming visitors at our front door. For $85, I thought Sarah’s workshop was good value. She gave us the materials, including that luscious satin bow, great coffee and snacks, Fiskars snips to take home – and most of all the how-to knowledge for many wreaths to come.

 

14 comments

    1. It really, does, doesn't it? As a result, although we all started with similar materials, the wreath each person in the workshop made had personal flair.

  1. I. Love. It!! It is stunning and makes me want to go out to my backyard to see what I can scrounge up. How long do you think the fresh sprigs will last?

    1. Mzzbev, Sarah estimated they'd last about three weeks — but that might be for things like the rosehips, which would be a bit more fragile. The evergreen wreath I made for myself a couple of years ago lasted well into the new year.

  2. Very nice! And since the wreath is personalized, it will mean a lot more than the prefab ones you see at posh garden centres around the city for sale.

    If I hung something similar in my neighbourhood, it may last a couple of nights before "walking off", lol…

  3. Hi Helen, So glad you enjoyed the workshop! Your wreath is a beauty. It was a pleasure having you there and your tree identification knowledge was certainly appreciated. That trick for determining spruce is a keeper! Hope you have a lovely holiday.

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