Wreath and Garland Care Tips
Living in Canada with a woefully short growing season, I missed the greenery of our summer garden and was looking for ways to liven up the monotonous blanket of white snow that was surely going to greet us. My solution was to use evergreens: they're called that for a reason! And would make an otherwise sterile patio bright with life. On a trip to a nursery, I came across bundles of pre-made evergreen garlands, but when wrapped around didn't have the natural look I wanted: it swirled awkwardly on our gates, too uniform to look natural. So I decided to make my own custom fresh garland.
Picking the Evergreen
I decided to go with cedar because it drapes so beautifully with layers of delicate cascading leaves. Although I haven't tried ever variety of evergreen, of those I have, this is what I've noticed in regards to how they age over time:
Cedar: dries out and discolours the fastest
Pine: holds up well all season long with minimal shedding
Juniper: colour preserves well, but becomes very brittle and messy
Fir: holds up well all season long
Magnolia: I only used these as accents, but full magnolia garlands are stunning and bold
Installing the Garland
My patio was unique in that it was tall iron fencing so affixing the garland was really easy. I pruned my bundles to shape, tied them together, and wove the bundles of evergreens (similarly sized to the above picture) into one long strand with florist wire.
I then affixed it to the upper gate using jute twine that blended with the branches. I found a "W" formation the most pleasing where you can accent the peaks with speciality foliage like magnolia that fan out beautifully. If you'd like to add more festivities, adding solar-panel lights does the trick, which I did here. I used fairy light, and a set of globes.
I opted for mostly winterberries (tip: sometimes corner shops have the good deals on pricing, if you're in Toronto, actually buying bundles from Metro works out being cheaper. Hunt around). These berries actually provide food for birds during the winter, so be aware! You'll likely end up with bare branches by the end of the season, but I find it quite sweet to give the birds a little treat so I wholeheartedly embrace it.
Soak these bad boys! Making sure the stem is under water, and flipping the bundles over to ensure both sides have absorbed maximum moisture. I leave mine in a tub overnight.
Optionally (but I highly recommend), is using something like Wilt Pruf if you'd like to really extend the lifetime of your evergreen cuttings. Warning: it will discolour some of the foliage (ex. cedar gets a yellow tinge) and adds a semi-gloss over the surface. From afar, still looks great, so I consider it a small price to pay.
If you skipped out on a spray, misting daily is necessary, concentrating by the cut tips. Ideally you'd have positioned your garland away from direct sun.
I prune discoloured or dried out branches throughout the season, and occasionally replace them with fresh bundles. Maintenance outdoors is not too rigorous. Generally, the colder it is, the easier it is to care for (think: frozen in time). It's really end season when they'll start to turn.
Once your evergreens turning yellow you should really think about disposing it as it can become a fire hazard!
Compost if possible, but be aware that conifers break down incredibly slow so opt for city compost if you don't want to add it to your own bin.