Wreath Making

Wreath Making in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Camera shy Lise decorating a wreath (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

The art of wreath making dates back to ancient Rome, when wreaths were used for various forms of celebration as well as for symbolic purposes.  Important rulers wore wreath crowns made from golden leaves of ivy, olive, and oak to name a few.  The use of evergreens for wreath making dates back to the early 19th century Europe, with the belief that the greens represented life through the winter months, and the circle was a symbol of immortality.

Cutting Greens for Wreaths in A Garden For All By Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Camera shy Peter cutting greens (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Present day, we adore wreaths for their abundant beauty and crisp fragrance; awakening our senses during the long winter months.  And a wreath is what you make it.  It can be richly adorned with glossy ornaments, baubles and trinkets.  Or, it can be plump with a variety of greens, twigs, berries and pine cones. But, just how are these wondrous delights created?  What skills must one possess to construct these evergreen masterpieces?

Window Box Greens in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The perfect place to relax (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

For those of us looking for a better understanding of the branches and bows of wreath making, I went right to the source.  Just around the corner, in the little town of Gaylordsville, are two of the most skilled wreath makers this side of Texas.  Lise Goedewaagen, and her partner, Peter Flynn, have been making wreaths for decades, with the last four years at this location.  Because both have seasonal businesses; Peter as a dry (no mortar) stone mason/jewelry maker and Lise, owner of Outdoor Environments, a landscape design and maintenance company, the wreath making opportunity came at just the right time.  And lucky for me, they were gracious enough to allow me a peak behind the scenes . . .

Cat on Greens in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Protector of the Greens (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

First, is the preparation.  Truck loads of greens are cut (with permission) from neighboring properties and tree farms.  Other embellishments, such as dried flowers, winterberry and pine cones are gathered.  Dozens of ribbons in a rainbow of assorted colors are patiently wound on “The Bow Machine”, which is hand powered by Lise. Everything is then carefully sorted and arranged for optimum efficiency.

Assembling Wreath in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Peter assembling wreath (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

The production line starts with Peter, who expertly grabs just the right amount of balsam greens and strategically mixes them with  a delectable assortment of the choicest arborvitae, white pine, yew, juniper and holly.  Each handful is carefully placed in between the metal tines of  a circular shaped wreath frame, and then clamped shut by a mechanism operated by a foot pedal below the work bench.  (Peter allowed me to give it a shot and it took all my weight to get that clamp tight-I can’t imagine how his foot and leg feel by the end of the day!) Depending on the size of the wreath frames, which run from 12″ to 50″, this process alone can take well over an hour.

Bow Making in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Lise making a bow (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

When the selected greens have filled the entire frame, Peter hangs the wreath and gives it a light finish pruning to correct any imbalance.  From there, the artist Lise steps up and sizes up the wreath, deciding which bow will look just right.  Occasionally, she decides against any bows, but when bows are used, they are the first step in the decorating process.  Once the bow is placed on the wreath, Lise considers the next garnish.  Clusters of cones are chosen (Peter assembles these with wire in groups of three) and placed symmetrically at each side and opposite the ribbon (top or bottom).  Then the glue gun is drawn from her holster, and sprigs of holly, twigs of berries, faux fruit, German statice, dried flowers and any other ornamentally interesting specimens Lise discovers, are strategically placed throughout the wreath in the most pleasing way.  She gives the wreath a final primp, and it’s out on the store front for sale.

Holiday mailbox in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Holiday decorated mailbox (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

You can find more info about World’s Best Wreaths on Facebook, at www.odenvironments.com or simply drive to: 634 Kent Road, Gaylordsville, CT  06755 and experience it for yourself!

Comments

  1. What a fabulous article! Who knew? Believe me, if I could, I would drive right to Gaylordsville and buy one directly from Peter & Lise and put it on my mailbox just like you Kathy!

    • Come on down!! Or is it over?? XO~Kathy

      • Barbara France says:

        It’s not over yet! Lise and Pete still creating gorgeous wreaths. I have a beauty hanging on my door, purchased on Thurs. It is the freshest, fullist and most fragrant wreath I have ever had. And there are lots of imaginative and locally made gifts inside the shop. A perfect spot to pick up the gift you’d forgotten you needed for that special person.
        Enjoyed your write-up featuring the art of wreath making and your blog, Kathy.

        • I agree that their wreaths are the best, which is why I have been purchasing several every year! Because they are fresh, they last much longer as well. Thank you, Barbara, for taking the time to comment! Happy Holidays~

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