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Wreaths At Allan Gardens


November 24, 2012 was the day chosen to assemble our three-foot wreath for Allan Gardens. Since the winter of 2009, the Hort has established a tradition of making and donating a wreath to honour our historic connection to Allan Gardens. It is usually hung in the main Palm House as part of the festive flowers and decorations that adorn the gardens for the pleasure of visitors during the Christmas season. Lillian organized the event by gathering the fresh evergreens, ribbon and decorations used to make the wreath, by coordinating the volunteers, and communicating with the Garden’s staff who are always grateful for our gift and who accommodate our work party in the sunny Children’s Conservatory, the last glass house to have been added to the Gardens when it was moved from the U of T. The congenial team of volunteers also included Hilde, Eduardo, Kathy, Barbara, Paive and Jay.

To make a three-foot diameter wreath requires a good amount of fresh material and 5 hours of work, from preparation, assembly and breaks to clean up, for 7 willing pairs of hands, but you can make a scaled-down version for yourself in only a few hours by following our step by step instructions.

Materials needed: At least 3 kinds of evergreen branches for contrast of texture and green colour; some dried material like eucalyptus or branches; ribbon, artificial fruit or other decorations of choice; garden gloves; secateurs; wire cutters; scissors; pliable medium gauge wire. 

  • Step 1: Cut the evergreen and dried material into small pieces. For our large wreath they were between 5 and 6 inches long. For a smaller wreath about 3 ½ inches is good.
  • Step 2: Gather an assortment of about 5 or 6 pieces into a bunch and secure the bunch with a small piece of wire at the bottom. A couple of twists around will do, just so it holds. You can vary the contents of each bunch so they are not all identical, with some having only evergreens and others that include ribbon and other pieces.
  • Step 3: Once you have assembled about 4 dozen bunches, you can begin the wreath assembly, but you will likely have to repeat the ‘bunching’ process as you move along. Secure the first bunch by its base to the wire frame by wrapping it tightly using a long 3 to 4 foot piece of wire. Place the second bunch a little to the left and below the first. One at a time, secure each bunch to the frame in the same manner as the first by continuing to wrap the same piece of wire tightly around it, starting with a new piece as the wire gets used. Place the third bunch a little to the right and below the second. By staggering each bunch and pointing each one at a slightly different angle, you give your wreath depth and volume. Your wreath shape is beginning to emerge. And this is where it is important to have the length of each bunch proportionate to the size of your wreath. If the individual bunches are too long or of inconsistent lengths, or inconsistent in spacing placement on the frame, they will be floppy and your finished product will have flat gaps and holes in the design.
  • Step 4: When you reach the end of your circle, secure the last bunches to the frame under the tops of the first bunches so that all the bunches lie around the frame, one on top of the other, in the same direction. Finally, with another piece of wire, twist it onto the frame to make a secure loop for hanging. Congratulations on your creation!

If you would like a little hands-on experience next November, sign up for the wreath making team. It is always a fun day.

Kathy Andrachuk, January 2013