Wreath Making

Post and Photographs by:  Eliza Waters, New England Gardener and Blogger

Decorated wreath with a gold theme

In December, decorating your home for the holidays is a fun tradition. Swags, garlands and wreaths can be purchased, but making your own is easy, creating a one-of-a-kind look.

To make a wreath, you’ll need a wire, grapevine or straw wreath frame. Or you can use a coat hanger – bend the hook around to create a loop for hanging, then work all the angles into a round shape.

Wreath making set-up

You can use any evergreen trimmed from your yard or land such as pine, spruce or fir. Here, I’ve used Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) and golden Threadleaf False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Sungold’).

You can purchase bundled greens from a vendor; exotic greens, like juniper or cedar, are especially decorative. You will need about a grocery bag of greens trimmed into six-inch pieces.

First bunch attached

Using a spool of 24-gauge wire, begin by securing the loose end of the wire to the frame, then lay spool to the outside. Choosing a bunch of 4-5 evergreen pieces, place and fan around frame at point where wire is attached; wrap wire around stems gently, but firmly (too tightly, the stems will break; too loosely, they will fall out), securing with several loops around the frame.

Advancing spool wire

Advance by wrapping wire several inches along frame; place the next bunch overlapping the first and wire against frame. Repeat procedure as you make your way around the frame. Try to position bunches evenly, aiming for symmetry in size and shape as you work along. You can trim tips later to adjust edges, if needed.

Layered bunches

When finished, loop wire a few times around frame, then snip spool away and tuck end securely into frame. Assessing where the wreath looks fullest, which will become the bottom, cut a six-inch piece of wire and slip into the rear opposite side to create a loop for hanging. Mark location with a scrap of ribbon so it is easy to find later. If using a wire hanger where you already made a loop, you can simply trim.

Finished wreath

Now decorate with ribbon, berries, pinecones, and cranberry/popcorn garlands or decorative picks available at craft stores. Create a theme such as feeding birds, children’s toys, or based on color. It can be glittery or natural with seed heads and berries collected in the wild. It is your unique expression; so let your creative juices flow and have fun with it!

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Wordless Wednesday

2017 Greenhouse Poinsettia Open House

UNH Poinsettia Open House, 11/30-12/2/17

Submitted by: Judy V., MG since 2007

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Holiday Gathering

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Wordy Wednesday

12th Annual UNH Poinsettia Open House

Thompson School Greenhouses, 13 Botanical Lane, Durham

November 30, December 1 & 2, 2017

Thursday 10-6 Friday 10-4 Saturday 10-4

All proceeds benefit the Thompson School Greenhouse Facility and Horticulture Program

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Posted in Gardening, UNH Cooperative Extension | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Garden Makeover

Submitted by:  Fran F., Master Gardener Intern, Fall 2016

What can be done to a yard space that is sloped, very little curb appeal, unsupportive of grass, home for countless moles, is in full sun, and is covered weeds? This past spring after lots of research and years of frustration, I decided to give the whole front yard a makeover.

The front yard space needed more curb appeal so I added a curved stone path that offered an invitation to enter our home through the front door.

Next, I accented the path with plants that were drought resistant such as “succulents.” They were placed at the top of the hill before and on the slope.

I was pleased to find a variety of these plants at the local garden store.

Some have interesting fleshy leaves while others have delicate blooms that also add color. Lavender enjoys these friends too!

I also realized in the past that day lilies were very successful in many parts of my very dry front yard.

I bought several more from a Rollinsford grower.

These would provide color throughout the growing season since I purchased plants that had different blooming times.

 

Another area on the hill’s slope was a perennial rose campion that began to take over a huge area by seeding itself.

Instead of ripping it out, I have left it to do as it wished. When its seedlings ended up in unwanted spots I simply “weeded” them.

Lambs ear has also made a home in various areas.

I also found that irises  are also able to do without much water.


I ended the growing season by adding many kinds of bulbs so the spring garden can awaken with bright colors of tulips, phlox, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, and crocus.

 

Ornamental grasses were also fun to experiment with knowing I had seen several varieties in very dry places and on slopes like my yard.

They would add height and interest to other areas.

As I put this area to bed for the season, I am noticing how many positive aspects have occurred since this change.

There are fewer weeds because the mulch is holding in more moisture and discouraging many weeds. With more kinds of plants blossoming, I’m seeing more insects such as bees and butterflies. I’m not sure where the moles went, but all the tunnels are non-existent.

Another bonus is that the front yard only takes around ten minutes versus almost 30 minutes to mow since there is much less grass. This was a true experiment that took lots of work but was worth the energy in the end!

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Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving

…from the Master Gardeners of Strafford County, New Hampshire. We wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday.

The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.  — Joel Salatin

If you’d like to learn more about gardening, check out the links on the side of this page or use the contact information above. 

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Wordless Wednesday

Submitted by:  Jon B., MG since 1996

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