THE LONGEST AUTUMN – shining on into the darkening winter. Leaves still bright on the sparkling branches.  Kick-along golden carpets for walkers in wellies. Bright berries of rose hip and hawthorns bedecking the hedgerows. I really can’t remember an autumn as long as this one is, sliding into December so beautifully.

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The little green lane at the bottom of our  field

Walking out today I grabbed stuff from the hedgerows to make autumn wreaths. Collect thin branches of dog wood, willow, sliver birch, and old man’s beard vines, rosehips, holly, cotoneaster and fallen leaves.

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Ingredients for a rustic wreath collected from the hedgerows

The birds are starting their raid on the holly berries. Picking my holly now and storing the branches in a shed preserves them with berries for Christmas.

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Pick holly  now for Christmas decorations

Wreaths are made just by twisting branches round into a circle and binding more on to build up a firm ring. The first twists are the hardest, because everything seems too short and springy. But persevere and don’t worry about it being mis-shapen at this stage. As you build the layers twisting more branches round, mould the wreath into an even ring and as you continue binding it will become fixed. Turn the ring over and make your twisting go in the other direction. Join in new pieces just by tucking them into the circle at an angle between other twigs. Bits sticking out add to the overall rustic look, so don’t worry about being neat! Long ivy trails are very easy to use and wrap up well.

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Getting started – the first twists

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Holly – cut the leaves off little sprigs so the berries show before pushing into finished wreath

When the twiggy part is build up to be bulky enough them you can add decorative sprays of berries and leaves. Loosely wrap old man’s beard around the outside of the wreath.

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Autumn celebration wreath

Dress the wreath up more with raffia bows. Making a raffia loop is a good idea for hanging it up.

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In Stroud the crew from the Transition Stroud Open Gardens and Homes team are demonstrating how to make these hedgerow wreaths this Saturday December 7th 10.00 am –2.00 pm at the Winterfest – Stroud Ale House, 9 John Street. See you there!

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