As an All I Ever Wanted publication day present to me, I booked myself and my boyfriend onto a Christmas wreath-making course. I have to keep adding CHRISTMAS to that otherwise it sounds unsettlingly ghoulish. It’s been a bad year, but not that bad.

The course was run by my favourite florist’s in Hereford, The Hibiscus Room. It’s one of those flower shops that smells dark green, and fresh white, of sharp rain and damp oasis and eucalyptus, and whenever you go in, the florists are  standing there, casually whipping up hand-tied bouquets while cackling hilariously about something or other. If you’re sending anyone flowers in the Herefordshire area, they’re the best. I imagine they also know the best gossip in the county, what with the number of weddings, anniversary bouquets, apology bouquets, surprise bouquets, and other heavily emotional floral deliveries they’re party to.

Anyway, wreathes. Debbie, who runs the course, made the excellent decision to hold it in the upstairs room at Tandem Bakery, a cafe-bakery in the middle of town, so the day started with everyone putting in a coffee and cake order. There were ten of us. That took a while.

Then, when everyone was suitably caffeinated, Debbie brought forth the piles of greenery and started demonstrating. Let me sum up Christmas wreathes for you: copper ring, moss, wire, pine bits, wire, cinnamon-sticks-wire-driedlimes-wire-holly-wire-weirdgoldbits-wire, RAFFIA BOW. And you’re done.

To break that down in slow motion, that’s moss…


and then ten carefully wired together chunks of pine, mixed with holly or gold bits, or mistletoe for the romantically hopeful…

img_0840and then you just start wiring the bunches to the ring, spacing them out equally so the moss is all covered…

img_0842until you have a satisfyingly solid base. Your hands now smell of pine resin and iron wire. You feel quite proud of yourself, until Debbie tells you she made twenty eight of these for the Christmas party of a top secret local diplomacy solutions provider, yesterday morning. Then you select your fancy bits and pieces to wire on – pine cones, extra holly, baubles, cinnamon sticks, dried limes, dried oranges, dried chillis, dried kitchen sinks… And then, ta-dah!


And here’s what our back door now looks like! (This is the wreath my boyfriend made. It’s great, isn’t it? He went for a more ‘flamboyant’ approach with the dried hydrangea/double bow styling. I sense a second career in the offing…)