Last week, I attended a wonderful two day Christmas Course at the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers. You may remember that earlier in the year I attended their Summer Flowers course and Wedding Flowers course?
Before I tell you about the first day though, I thought you may like to see some photos of the beautiful displays outside their shop, including the amazing sleigh above, full of Christmas wreaths.
On the other side of the doorway were lots of flowers, plants and more wreaths on sale.
So, on to Day 1 where we were going to learn how to make a wreath from scratch.
The Principal, Gillian Wheeler, started by explaining that we needed to tease out the sphagnum moss we were going to use as the base of our design and separate out any twigs.
She attached reel wire to a wire wreath frame, rolled handfuls of moss into sausage shapes and bound them tightly onto the frame.
As you can see in the images below, Gillian continued to cover the whole frame and explained how important it is to make sure that the bound moss is very firm to give the wreath a good foundation. She also told us to look for any gaps and add extra moss if necessary.
Gillian’s colleague, Madeleine, then showed us how to cut and select suitable pieces of pine to cover the moss.
She explained that you need one central piece and two side pieces. Placing these on top of the moss, she secured them in place by binding them with the reel wire.
She worked her way around the wreath in one direction, checking as she went that the moss was being covered by the pine.
Afterwards, Gillian showed us how to back the design with wreath wrap and German pins.
Now it was time to decorate the wreath. Madeline demonstrated how to achieve a natural-style design using dried apple and orange slices, pine cones and cinnamon sticks in groups.
Then Gillian showed us how to add ribbon in a variety of styles and how to attach wire to hang the design securely.
It was then our turn and here are images of my wreath below.
Although making a wreath from scratch is quite time-intensive and a little bit messy (!), we all had such a lovely day.
The environment at the Academy is so relaxed and the teaching very easy to follow. Each step was demonstrated and then we carried out the task, with help on hand if you needed it.
And here’s my finished design hanging on our door at home…
Without the bow, Gillian said that the wreath would be perfect as a table arrangement. Simply add a storm lantern and a pillar candle.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading today’s blog post. Tomorrow, on Day 2, you’ll see how we made a Christmas table arrangement, a garland for a mantelpiece and a napkin/wine glass decoration.
(Images : Rona Wheeldon for Flowerona)