Friday, December 24, 2010

Wreath Making and Future Workshops

I have been making winter and holiday wreaths for years. I was first taught the craft by my mother who taught me to use natural materials and to be creative with them. Later on she taught me bow making in which I really later explored while making wreaths at the farm I worked at years ago. Both are simple skills that anyone can learn and expand on.

I now make all the wreaths here in Cornwallville from scratch using pre-made forms and as well as ones I compose myself. I gather greens and materials from different sources and have my "secret places" as my mother and I refer to them (and as does she to her own).

They are an absolute joy to create and the techniques and creativity you can express are endless. Back in the day when I was being paid to make wreaths for a couple of years, I realized that they were in high demand but also wanted to teach people how to make them as well. I think they are short lived works of botanical art, much like a floral arrangement but lasting well over a month or so. Creating them together in a group for me is also part of the process (think a sewing circle, but a bit more fun).

So it is in this idea of using creativity and crossing it with botanical materials, in which I want to inform you that during the holiday season of 2011 I will be offering a few wreath making workshops. They will take place here at the M.H. Merchant Stone House, and possibly one in Northern New Jersey and will provide all the materials needed. The details will come most likely in October.

The final wreath below is not one I created but one I received as a gift from my good gardening friend Heather Grimes. It just goes to show how creative one can be. Instead of using evergreen plant material, Heather composed an absolutely charming wreath for me out of dried herbs and seed heads. Now that's being a true gardening wreath maker!

I hope you enjoyed this quick glance at some wreaths here in Cornwallville and that it inspires you to get creative with your holiday decor.

Happy Holidays from the Cornwallville Gardens!

Friday, December 10, 2010


These images are of the first hoarfrost here in Cornwallville. Hoarfrost is a crystalline deposit of frozen water vapor on vegetation and other outdoor surfaces. It is also one of my favorite works by my partner Stephen.

It can be one of the most magical things to happen to the winter garden. It looks as if sugar has been sprinkled from the clouds and everything it lands on shimmers with sweetness.

For S.