Props Floral Design in the Hydrostone District of Halifax smells like a luscious, botanical greenhouse. Every surface features beautiful arrangements of fresh flowers, houseplants and succulents, plus gifts and home-décor items.
Owner and lead designer Susan MacIntosh has over 30 years of experience in custom floral design. In her large downstairs work space, she hosts lunch and learns, private classes, and workshops including centre pieces, door swags, outdoor urns, holiday arrangements, and fresh and faux wreaths.
A wreath can by hang by the door year-round, especially when crafted with evergreens that will last through the winter. You can make wreaths in different shapes and sizes with a variety of materials, says MacIntosh, and customize your creation to your own personal style.
East Coast Living asked MacIntosh to show us how to make a traditional fresh winter wreath.
Step 1: Gather your materials
You’ll need foliage, cutters, cable ties (green or black work best), scissors, and a wire wreath form.
For the foliage, gather the fresh greenery you want to use. Forage from outside; take only what you need, it won’t hurt the trees or shrubs, and leave some berries for the birds.
MacIntosh gathered cedar, cypress, rosemary, holly, and rose hips on a walk outside. “You don’t need a plan either,” she says. “Go with what you find.” You can also order these items from a flower shop.
Step 2: Build a backbone
Clip all the green juicy parts off the branches, as MacIntosh does with the cedar for this wreath. Streamline the greenery by snipping stray pieces off, and zip-tie the branches piece-by-piece to the wire form until it is covered.
Step 3: Plump it up
Bundle foliage and berries in little handfuls, and pull the cable ties tight when tying to the wreath form. Attach the bundles one for one on the inner and outer rings, all the way around. This wreath will stay fresh for a month before it will start to dry out, but that will add to it’s rustic charm.
Step 4: Tidy up
Trim off excess bits as you go. Fill in all the holes and gaps you can see. “You’re never done,” says MacIntosh. “You can always add one more piece, fill one more gap, trim one more branch.” Once it feels full, move on.
Step 5: To bow or not to bow
At this stage, the wreath could become a table centrepiece. If you’re hanging the wreath and want to add a bow, cut some ribbon that is double the width of your wreath. Gently fold the ribbon in half and drape it along the wreath lengthwise. Cut a separate piece of ribbon, fold it into a bow, and attach it to both the ribbon already draped on the wreath and the top of the wreath itself with zip ties.
Step 6: Adorn the door
Now hang your wreath and admire your handy work. Trim any loose bits and fill out any remaining gaps you may see. It really is this simple. This project took MacIntosh 30 minutes to assemble start-to-finish, once her materials were collected. “The fun part is, it’s not meant to be so tame,” laughs MacIntosh. With a little practice, you’ll be whipping up wreaths at her speed, for every door in your home.