A hedgerow Christmas
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 December 2014
Georgie Newbery of Commonfarm Flowers in Somerset shows us how to get creative with hedgerow ‘goodies’ this festive season.
1. Work all the willow to soften it by pushing it through your hands, using your thumbs as softening pads. Be aware that if you don’t work the willow before you use it, you risk the stems cracking as you weave them in and out of your circle.
2. Your first length of willow can be twisted round by weaving the end in and out of itself. A 3m length will go round your circle two or three times. Your first circle will be off-centre, pulling itself into a slight egg shape. As you weave each length of willow into the circle it will become stronger and less likely to ping out of shape.
3. For your last length of willow, you might save a stem with lots of side shoots. This will give your willow circle a lovely explosive look. You can then bind your circle in three places with the thin, shorter whips. This binding will firm up any loose-feeling places in your gorgeous creation.
4. How to garland your willow circle:
You’ll need a selection of hedgerow goodies.
Plus you will need a reel of light florist’s wire.
5. Cut your hedgerow ingredients into quite long lengths – 20-30cm. You can trim them later. You can use, according to seasonal availability:
three lengths of flowering ivy
three handfuls of berries
three spurts of variegated euonymus
a dried hydrangea head
a few tufts of old man’s beard
three heads of dried statice
a few silvery coins of honesty seedheads.
6 You want each length to be long enough for you to be able to wire each next ingredient of your garland onto the stem of the previous, so that your garland is a long ribbon of material, not a bunch. Wire your garland ingredients together down the long length you make with their stems until you have a garland perhaps half or three quarters the circumference of the willow circle you’re going to attach it to. Attach your garland firmly to the circle with a little wire. Add ribbon to taste and there you have it!
7 As you get more confident, you can experiment and make your garlands your own.
Taken from The Flower Farmers Year, Green Books.