Making my own Christmas wreath at Biddulph Grange Gardens

Is your home really ready for Christmas without a wreath adorning the front door? I love to try and make my own each year, and adore how different each one looks.

In previous years, I’ve made a spruce and succulent wreath with cinnamon and glitterballs, and recycled our old artificial tree into a wreath – albeit a very heavy one.

This year, Anya and I wrapped up and headed to Biddulph Grange Gardens to make some Christmas wreaths with their gardeners, who work tirelessly to keep the National Trust site looking gorgeous year-round.

As we arrived, we met with around a dozen other people looking to make their homes feel festive with a DIY wreath before heading into the hidden Kitchen Garden. Tucked away out of the main gardens, the kitchen garden sees seasonal fruit and veg growing in beds, and it’s a great place to get inspiration for your own garden if you’d like to grow things to eat.

In the greenhouse, we picked a station each consisting of a wire wreath, secateurs, wire and a pile of moss. What I loved about this workshop is that everything used to make the wreaths was grown in the gardens – moss included. The lovely volunteers guided us through a two hour session, showing us how to make a base from the moss, onto which to add our festive foliage.

With the moss securely wired on, we could start building our wreath with the different kinds of holly, all grown in the gardens – from black holly, to variegated versions, too. We learned how to stack two stems together and wire them onto the wreath to build a nice full, round shape, with very few gaps. However, if you are thinking of heading to a wreath workshop that works with holly, I highly recommend taking some gloves with you, or you’ll have sore thumbs and fingers for a few days.

After creating our wreath shapes, we could add ‘infills’ to cover up any gaps, as well as decorating them with pine cones and cotoneaster berries. These are recommended more than holly berries as birds don’t like them as much, meaning they’ll leave it alone until food sources get very low, then the birds might pinch them.

I was really pleased with how my wreath came out, and surprised to see that, despite having all the same resources, how different everyone’s design looked.

Lunch was included in the £40 ticket price, so Anya and I enjoyed hot apple and parsnip soup with bloomer bread, as well as a hot drink and slice of cake, before taking a wintry walk around the gardens, which had received a touch of frost overnight. The Dahlia Walk has been dug up to preserve them for next years display, and have been replaced with tulips that will look fabulous in spring. We pottered around the second hand bookshop and picked up a festive read, and then took a trip through Egypt and into the woodland, where a little Santa’s sleigh has been placed next to the giant redwoods, making for a fabulous photo.

The workshop was a really festive and insightful experience, and I’ll definitely be trying to make my own at home next year, too!

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