Make a Bay Leaf Christmas Wreath!
How to Make Your Own Unique Homemade Wreath
Wow, it worked! I had a California Bay Leaf shrub that was getting too bushy, so a friend suggested I trim it for the holidays and make a Christmas wreath!
A relative of the bay laurel, California Laurel (aka Oregon Myrtle) is available in a lot of garden centers on the West coast. Its leaves may be used for cooking (I like it in pasta sauce) just like the Mediterranean bay laurel. The problem is, it grows too fast, and I don't cook that much!
Of course, as a Greece buff, I know that the ancient Greeks made wreaths out of laurel. But how? Well, I improvised.
Making My Handmade Christmas Wreath - In ten easy steps -- it took me about 1/2 an hour!
It was actually really easy to make this laurel leaf wreath.
1) Prune the tree. I had about four branches that were about a yard/meter long, and about ten smaller ones.
2) To begin the frame, I used copper craft wire to attach two branches together, like this:
3) Notice the tie in two places, to make the branches sit parallel to each other instead of bending at the tie like an elbow joint.
4) Then I bent them in a circle, using heavier branches all the way around to make a rough frame.
5) Once I had the basic frame, I started dressing it up with more slender branches. For these, I'd tuck one end between two branches:
6) Then I wrapped the smaller branch around (not quite as tight a spiral as in my drawing).
7) I tucked the end into another gap between two branches.
8) After the wreath felt sturdy and was fluffy and bushy, I tucked a few small branches so that their ends fanned into the middle of the circle, giving it a looser silhouette.
9) Finally, I took a big red bow I'd saved from last year's store-bought wreath and added it to the bottom.
10) I wetted a washcloth and wiped the dust off some leaves (I see I missed a few, but it looks fine from a distance.)
You could decorate it with Christmas balls, berries, or whatever you like.
These instructions should also work with pine or spruce (though spruce is prickly, so you'd need garden gloves), or willow, by the way -- willow's really good for weaving.
Photos of Finished Bay WreathClick thumbnail to view full-size
Bay Leaf Wreath
Other Names for Bay Leaf
You can often find Bay Leaf holiday wreaths on Amazon, but there's a trick to it - search for "bay leaf wreath" OR "laurel wreath" OR "myrtle wreath," and if the results are too random, try narrowing them down by adding the word "holiday" or "christmas" to your search phrase.
There's several words for the same plant, and some wreaths are filed under one name, some under the other.