The Holly Tree is a fascinating species native to the UK and much of Europe. Some varieties can grow up to 15 metres and live as long as 300 years! It plays an important role within the natural world as its dense leaf coverage makes safe nesting spaces for birds and its deep leaf litter allows animals such as hedgehogs to shelter. The juicy winter fruits offer a vital food source for much of the UK wildlife during those dark months.
However, Holly Trees are far more then sustenance and shelter for the natural wildlife. There is a certain magic to Holly Trees that stems from their evergreen properties and ability to thrive in shaded areas. Pagans believed them to be a sign of life in midwinter and used them in their mythology. As a result of this they are a true symbol of Christmas and winter celebration! The original Yule Log was traditionally from a Holly Tree as the wood burns for a long time providing heat and warmth through the Christmas celebration.
So, this season celebrate the magic of the Holly Tree and follow our step-by-step guide to making a festive, eco-friendly Holly Wreath!
You will need...
A metal wreath frame
A bag of Icelandic moss
Strong, brown string
Floristry scissors or secateurs
Sprigs of Holly
Any other foliage
Thick red ribbon (ideally with wire in the edges of the ribbon)
Take the wire frame and place large 'sausages' of moss around the circular frame. Keep the moss nice and thick, the more the merrier at this point! Bind the moss to the wreath tightly by using the string, and wrapping around the frame and moss numerous times. This will create a natural circular shape of moss and string ready to push your springs of Holly and other foliage into.
Put your gloves on! Prepare your sprigs of holly by using the floristry scissors or secateurs to remove the leaves from the lower ends of the stems giving you a bare length of woody stem to firmly push into the moss ring you created in step one. It is also useful to divide your springs into piles of larger and smaller sizes. If you are able to gather and use any other kinds of foliage it can give the wreath a unique look.
Work around the outside of the moss ring, carefully pushing each of the large stems into the moss at an angle. Once the outside is covered start to work around the ring again with smaller sprigs to fill the centre and thicken the wreath. If you're using a variety of other foliage as well as Holly, it's nice to alternate it around the wreath.
TOP TIP: Think of the moss ring like a clock face. You will hang the wreath from the 12 o'clock position and work from here all the way round the clock face making sure each quarter is nice and even in thickness and coverage from the Holly.
Take your red ribbon and tie a bow. Use plenty of ribbon, once again the more the merrier! Use the floristry wire to wrap around the centre of the bow and attach the moss ring at either 12 o'clock or 6 o'clock on the clock face.
TOP TIP: The floristry wire can be cleverly concealed behind the material of the ribbon so it doesn’t show when you hang it on your front door.
You are ready to hang the wreath from the 12 o'clock position using the brown string or perhaps more ribbon! You can really personalise your wreath at this point, perhaps by adding some battery operated string lights, extra bows or a dusting of glitter! Let your creativity run free.
Now you can enjoy the magic of the Holly Tree through the festive season every time you arrive home. A fun, eco-friendly way to decorate your household and honour the traditions of historic communities through the years. Please remember that when you are collecting your holly sprigs about the amount of wildlife that rely on the Holly Tree, it's branches, berries and leaf fall for survival through the winter months.