Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Boy Makes a Wreath

Boy and I have been tardy decorating Darlington for Christmas this year. I think we have a lot of company in this, though, given what I’ve heard from others and have also been reading on the blogs. It seems that Christmas occurring on a Friday this year has upset many a timetable, and we are not alone in finding it to be somewhat challenging to crank up the Christmas spirit this season.

Last year's garland and wreaths

But we’d better get moving, and but fast. While Christmas is only a couple of days away we’re having 75 for cocktails just a few days later and the house needs to be decorated for the party. It won’t be the end of the world if we aren’t done decorating by Christmas day, but it will be a calamity if we’re not fully decorated a few days later when the throng shows up expecting a show.

With this in mind we forced ourselves this past Saturday to get out the door and find a tree. We went to a nearby “you cut ’em” Christmas tree farm and found an acceptable option, currently sitting in our barn where we stowed it when we got home. We’ll decorate it Christmas Eve. Although there were numerous options available to find a tree on Saturday, getting our hands on roping and wreaths was another matter. Our usual sources were not only picked over, but mostly picked clean. The early-birds got there first. We bought the last bundle of plain-as-Jane white pine roping that our local florist had, in sad contrast to the long-gone boxwood roping we usually get. We found some more white pine roping at our local supermarket, of all places, so I think we’re ok in that department, particularly if we double it up to make thicker garlands. However, the only wreaths we found were desiccated, smashed, and showering needles, so no luck there.

We usually put up half a dozen or so wreaths at Darlington – one on the smaller of our two barns, another on our workhouse, and the rest on the house. So when we returned with nary a wreath to hang we thought it was a pathetic situation, indeed. Although we’re planning on going to the flower district in Manhattan to buy magnolia branches to decorate the drawing room at Darlington for our party, we wondered would we have to buy our wreaths there as well? The thought of doing so seemed extravagant and wasteful -- why not just burn our cash while we’re at it?

Fed up with the whole thing I decided that my time would be better spent working on my blog for the rest of the afternoon. But Boy came up with a brilliant idea. He would make a wreath for the front door at Darlington, so we would at least have something on our house to alert passers by that its inhabitants were not so slothful that they couldn’t at least bring themselves to find a single wreath. So off he went to one of our barns and set to work.

Boy shows how it's done

Within an hour he came back to the house with a lovely, beautifully-made wreath of the freshest greens imaginable, and hung it on our front door. All it took was the following: a wreath form (we have a handful left over from prior years), floral wire, assorted greens, and a healthy dose of flair and style – which Boy has in abundance. And he didn’t have to leave Darlington to find any of the components. We already had the necessary supplies and the greens – a combination of Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) and Western red cedar/Arborvitae (Thuja plicata) – were growing right there on our property.

The finished product
(Ignore door color, it's the undercoat)

So lessons learned here include:
  • The early bird does, in fact, get the worm;
  • You don't have to buy your wreaths, you can make them easily enough if you have the tools and sufficient ingenuity; and
  • The prospect of making 5 more wreaths is sufficiently daunting that we probably will end up buying the rest of them at the flower district after all...
Photos by Boy Fenwick and Reggie Darling


  1. I am suitably impressed. No, more than suitably. Enthusiastically:).

  2. Hmmm, decorating with magnolia branches. We have a magnolia in the back yard. I will have to try using the branches this Christmas.


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