This year's Christmas wreath hangs on
a window frame next to the front door.
The Recycled Christmas Wreath
by Ginny Stibolt
For the past two years the UPS man has delivered a new Christmas wreath-a gift from my
daughter. When my new wreath came this year, I decided to create an
approximate match using the metal frame and trimmings I'd saved from last
Last January I pulled the faded greens from the wreath and used
them as path mulch. The balsam fir has a lasting fragrance and for
months whenever I walked over that section of the path, I was reminded
of Christmas and my daughter's thoughtfulness.
The other day I took my wheelbarrow, loppers, and clippers on a
collecting trip around the yard. I'd been planning this, so I'd
purposely let some pine seedlings grow in the front meadow. I'd also left some
of the of the sweet bay magnolia suckers and crossing branches of the southern
magnolias to harvest for the wreath. I trimmed back some wax myrtle
branches-we have it growing in a number of areas around our lot and it
grows quickly so there was no need for planning. I picked up a
large clump of
that had come down in the high winds as a storm front passed over and then collected some
grasses and spent flowers.
As I rambled through the meadows, I was reminded of a Bill Geist piece on
CBS's Sunday Morning program a few years ago when he took the advice of
Martha Stewart to collect makings for a wreath from your
yard. He ended up with sticks, various pieces of litter, a tree-shaped,
pine-scented car freshener, and other assorted junk to use for his
this made me smile as I collected my more traditional wreath materials.
wheelbarrow full of wreath-making materials including mistletoe(Phoradendron
leucarpum), sweet bay magnolia (Magnolia
virginiana), southern magnolia (M.
grandiflora), wax myrtles (aka southern bayberry) (Myrica
cerifera), loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) both branches
and seedlings, unidentified composite flowers (aka dyc's or damn
yellow composites), and several types of grass stalks. This
may look like too much to populate one wreath, but I actually had
to go back out and collect more pine and wax myrtle. I didn't
use the mistletoe or the southern magnolia for the wreath, but they'll
wind up as inside holiday decor.
I brought my collected greens into the
garage, cleared off my work table, and laid out the wire wreath frame. I
removed the bow and the lichen, which was totally dead and powdery after
a year in the garage. I then gathered small bunches of pine and wax
myrtle branches to thread through two of the openings where the
bent wires attach to the frame. The branches all go in the same
direction, and when I completed the circle the stems were covered as they
overlapped the previous branches. I held the wreath up to
the light and filled in the thin spots. After
the basic greens were done, I inserted the sweet bay magnolia suckers
around the inside of the wreath and stuck in several bunches of grass
stalks with star-like spiky bracts. Then I
bent the wires holding the pinecones and fake berries, which were still attached
to the frame, on top of the greens, re-attached the bow at the top, and hung it on the window frame next to
the front door. I think it looks pretty good. What do you
In looking at this year's wreath, I'll add some more
pinecones and berries to fill it out when I recycle it next year.
Actually, I think I'll dress it up this year because my recycled
wreath is more interesting.
I wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a happy,
greener new year.
For more information on the history of wreaths and
more, see an article I wrote called, The
Myths of Mistletoe and Magnolia.
Ginny Stibolt would like to hear from readers who have suggestions
and questions. After all, there are more than a few transplanted
gardeners Florida trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t
in planting zone 8/9. She's wrote, "Sustainable Gardening for
Florida," published by University Press of Florida that was
released in 2009. Now she's written "Organic Methods for Growing
Vegetables in Florida" with Melissa Contreras in Miami. The
new book will be released in Feb 2013. You may contact her or read
extra details on her articles and other information posted on her
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