‘One for the Birds’
If you include real berries on your Christmas wreath you can guarantee that the birds will eat them, so I’ve taken to creating a Bird Feeding Wreath especially for them.
If you fancy making your own wreath but aren’t sure where to start I will be running ‘Wreath making for the Gardener’ workshops next year. I’d like to do them this year but I ran out of time.
In the mean time I thought I’d share with you some tips on making your own ‘Bird Feeding Wreath’ With a small change in ingredients the same principles could make any theme you prefer.
Choice of materials
Below are the kind of materials you can find around the house and garden to make your own Bird Feeding Wreath.
Evergreens: If you don’t have access to any pine type trees, try a backdrop of Laylandii hedge or any other conifer, this can be very effective. Other evergreens which look good are variegated Euonymus, Osmanthus, Eleganus and Plain or Spotted Laurel, Bay and Ivy. Any evergreen foliage will do.
Cones: These were first ‘Buttered’ with ‘Flutter Butter’ then pressed into mixed seed. DO NOT USE ORDINARY PEANUT BUTTER! I am led to believe it contains too much salt which can be harmful to birds. Please correct me if I’m wrong but better safe than sorry. You could also use any suet product recommended for this use. I have also softened some suet cakes that contained meal-worms for an extra treat!
Berries: If the birds have beaten you to the Holly Berries ty using Pyracantha, Viburnum or Rose hips and Hawthorne and of course Ivy.
Seeds: I had some Fennel plants that still had seed heads on so I used these and also Teasels. You could use any plant that retains some seeds. Thistle and umbelifera types work well. Do remember that if the seeds fall they may germinate so don’t use anything you wouldn’t want growing in your garden. Or be careful where you place it and be vigilant for seedlings.
If you are gathering from anywhere outside your own garden then please ask permission of the landowner and always Forage Responsibly.
Other materials needed
To bind everything together you will need some kind of wire. Being a gardener and not a florist I tend to use soft green garden wire. I often have lengths that have been used previously and being the recycler that I am, I use these up first.
You will need something to cut all your materials to length and also to cut the wire.
Gather your materials
Make a base (or buy one)
This was made from stems from a Ribes, bound with ivy and secured with wire. This was not easy as the stems were a bit short and not as flexible a I would have liked. So next time, longer lengths, at least 1.5m (5′) and flexible. Willows and Cornus are great alternatives. You may still need to use wire to secure your circlet. you can buy ready made Wreath Rings in Metal, Woven and even with florist foam. The latter is ideal if you wish to use fresh flowers.
Backing your base
I used Conifer, Laylandii hedging as a backing. Lay this all around your circlet and bind at intervals with wire to secure.
I decided on three different elements for my Bird Feeder Wreath and made three bouquets of each. The first was of berries, the second of Conifer (the cones will be added later) and the third was of Ivy.
All the materials were cut to around 18cm (7″) and arranged in my hand. I then secured each bouquet with wire. I bound it around a couple of times and twisted to tighten. Leave two tails on the wire about 10cm (4′) or more each to use to secure each bouquet to your wreath.
I worked out roughly where each would go and secured each in place. Each bunch is lad so that it covers the cut stems and wires of the previous one. Don’t worry too much if you have some gaps, these can be filled in later.
Hang your wreath
This is the opportunity to asses what more is needed. I use a Wreath Hanger and just slip it under the base circlet. If you want to add a wire loop, do so at the beginning and tie something to it so you can find it later.
Attach additional adornments
Return your wreath to the bench to add any additional elements. I wired the cones by wrapping garden wire around the base, bedding it well into the cone, twisted to secure and left long tails for tying to the wreath. I grouped my cones in threes and nestled them into the Conifer bouquets. The Teasels and Fennel Seed Heads I just pushed well in where I felt it needed some extra interest. And there you have it!
Stand back and admire!
Failing that, get in touch and buy a ready made one!
Small £35.00 Large £40.00
Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog.
“Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”
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