I fantasize all year long about warm fires on hearths, holiday parties lit by candles, making pralines and truffles to give as gifts, and every other Christmas cliché. Spiced cider with rum, anyone? (To be fair, how could you argue against that?)
A lot of of my infatuation comes from the romantic atmosphere that flickering candles, spicy and citrus-y fragrances, trumpets at Midnight Mass, and ethereal, soon-to-go-by-the-wayside decorations conspire to create. The string of cranberries will be eaten by the birds, the cloved oranges will be tossed into the compost, and the tree will be chipped into mulch. It's in part its ephemeral nature that makes a light-strung cottage so appealing.
This project, too, is ephemeral - you'll throw it out sometime in January, but no matter, because it's inexpensive, it's easy, and you get to keep a boxwood plant in the end.
I've made wreaths out of magnolia leaves in the past, but this year I'd be putting the wreath in front of the “mirror” we made, and I thought that called for something a little smaller-scaled and more refined. In the spring, I'd planted a hedge of boxwoods, and I love the shape and size of their branches and leaves. You can find boxwood wreaths, both faux and real, all over the internet, but they're all out of my price range, and they all offend my make-it-if-you-can sensibility.
I found that boxwood branches are much easier and faster to work with than magnolia leaves, since you attach dozens of small leaves in one fell swoop, versus one large leaf on a skinny, unwieldy stem.
- a 14" plastic-coated metal plant support
- floral wire (any mid-gauge - 18-22 - wire will work, but this stuff is green)
- a 3-gallon boxwood plant (I used a Japanese boxwood because it's the cheapest, mine cost $12.99)
- clippers for cutting the wire, and some for cutting the branches
This will give your branches and wire a little more to hold on to. Alternatively, you could just plan ahead (unlike me) and buy a wreath form.
Next, clip your branches. I tried to keep mine about 8 or 9 inches long, and if there are several bunches all growing off of one branch, it's best to keep these intact - you'll get more volume and fullness this way.
I trimmed about half the branches off my boxwood, and I'm thinking it will survive just fine, and I can re-pot it. If you're hoping to keep the plant, don't overdo it with the trimming - you can always come back and trim off more if you need them.
Fasten a branch to the ring by wrapping wire around it, about one-quarter of its length away from the bottom, so most of the branch is hanging free. Attach the next branch behind the first, so that the wires are covered. I cut 18" lengths of wire, and then used them for two or three branches at a time.
Go on this way until the ring is completely covered with branches, then go back and fill in any gaps or sparse areas. I probably used just as many branches on my second go-round as I did on the first.
I used a large S-hook to hang my wreath from the mirror.