The Toledo Botanical Gardens offered a boxwood-wreath-making class yesterday, and I went. I regretted it as I was setting out, since it was snowing heavily and my tires are not the best, but I made it there without incident (except for mistaking a side entrance for the real entrance and parking in what may have been employee parking because I didn’t want to risk having to turn around).

The class consisted of seven women, one maybe late thirties and the rest fifty or over except for me. They were all TBG volunteers, and I felt a little left out. Maybe I’d better start volunteering in the spring. (The instructor reminded us all about the spring plant sale. Me, I’m looking forward to the seed shop.) The class itself was a little more basic than I’d thought, but then there probably really isn’t much more to making a wreath than this and perhaps some artistry. If you’re curious, this is how you do it:

1. Cut a lot of boxwood, more than you think you’ll need, in late summer or early fall. The instructor didn’t specify how to keep it fresh, other than mentioning “spray it every day.”

2. Collect a 12″ wreath wire form, a roll of ~26 gauge florist’s wire, and clippers.

3. Cut the boxwood into nice-looking branches about 6-8 inches long.

4. Place the wire form in front of you with the concave side up. Layer the less-nice boxwood into the hollow of the wire form. This forms a background. You’re looking at it from the back side, so turn the nicer side of the leaves toward the wire.

5. Attach your wire to one of the wire form cross bars. Wrap the wire around the form to capture the boxwood, repeating your loops every 1-2″. Turn the wire form over.

6. Collect a bundle of 3-6 boxwood branches, enough to cover a spot on the wireform completely. Lay it down. Wrap the wire, as tightly as possible, around the lower part of the branches, where the leaves are stripped, three or four times.

7. Repeat #6, this time laying the nice part of the bundle over the wire-wrapped stems of the previous one so that you can’t see the wire.

8. Repeat #7 until you’ve covered the entire wreath. With the last bundle, tuck the stems under the leafy part of the first bundle and wrap carefully under the leafy part.

9. Hold up your wreath and give it a critical look. Tuck individual sprigs of boxwood where you’ve left wire uncovered or it just doesn’t look full enough. Cut and tie off the wire.

10. Add whatever interesting twigs, berries, ribbons, or other paraphernalia you want to add. (We only had the boxwood–some of it budded out for visual interest–and a nice red ribbon.)

11. Place in a cardboard box and spray with a “sealant” to make it shiny and keep longer, if you want to.

12. Hold it up and admire your handiwork.

13. Sweep your area quickly and leave before anyone else because it’s still snowing and you want to get home before the roads get any worse.

The instructor suggested letting it dry and then spray-painting it silver or gold, or using it as a centerpiece with a candle in the middle. I like mine as a natural wreath, but I’m going to look around my yard today and see if there’s anything I want to snip and tuck into it.

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