I always make a Xmas wreath every year for my front door, but I'm totally self-taught. I just go with an idea in my head and run with it, which is great, but sometimes it is nice to get an insight into just how the professionals do it. When a really great florist makes a wreath, there is often something unexpected in the mix, and you know it will last right through over Xmas without wilting or drying out!
This week I was invited to professional florist Agent F's Xmas wreath-making class, held at Heals Furniture on Tottenham Court Road. I attended a workshop held by Agent F in the summer, and also made a Xmas table centerpiece with them last year, so I knew they would teach me how to make an outstanding Xmas wreath with a bit of a twist on tradition. I wasn't wrong - I came away having learned how to make this gold and pink orchid wreath!
To start making a wreath like this, you need to make a moss base using a copper wreath wire, some mulchy moss, plus some floristry wire. To get everything you need to make a really good Xmas wreath you are best off visiting a flower market to get all your flowers, foliage and materials. I live on the London border so go to New Covent Garden Flower Market, but flower markets can be found all over the country. Be warned - if you don't like early mornings, this isn't for you! Most flower markets open at 4am and start to wrap up by 9am. However, if you have never visited one it is a great experience and really enjoyable to see the wide range of flowers available.
Load up your wet moss and then keep it in place by wrapping the floristry wire around it as you go. Your moss will provide enough moisture to keep your flowers in good condition on your wreath, especially as it collects the dew if your wreath is hung outside. Agent F did however recommend taking your wreath down once a week and laying it on a wet draining board by the sink to absorb moisture as required.
The next task was to take sprigs of Xmas tree pine, strip the base of needles, cut it to a point and then insert it into the moss. Using your wire, you wrap the wire around the moss securing in the sprigs. The aim was to have the pine all rotating around the wreath in one direction, which you can see from the below pictures below I did not achieve!
Once there was a ring of pine around the edge, Agent F got us to gather up a number of small posy of olive leaves, eucalyptus, ivy berries and dip-dyed gold leaf, mixed in with some more pine, and secure these small bunches to the face of the wreath. The tips of the stems should poke in the moss to get moisture at the root.
It was this step that really made all the difference! The pine at the back became more secure and the wreath became really 'full'. I used around 6 small bunches on my wreath, all secured at an angle.
Then it was just the final touches. Agent F supplied some fir cones which we secured to the wreath with some crossed over stub wire. I would have used a glue gun here, but according to Agent F, by using wire you are making sure that nothing falls off your wreath in any heavy rain.
The the best bit was adding on some amazing pink orchid heads. This was done by snipping an orchid head and putting it into a 'floristy tube', which was like a tiny sealed plastic tube containing some water. You poked the spike of the tube into the moss/wire and your orchid is secure! If there is a bad frost then the orchids will not survive, but it could be a simple change up of flower heads with little effort just by inserting a new flower into the tube.
The whole thing took about 2 hours and I was delighted with the result. The class is really fun and relaxed and the Agent F team are really hands on if you get stuck!
Agent F are running two more Xmas floral workshops at Heals on the 13th and the 16th December and you can buy tickets here. Alternatively, if you'd love a wreath like this and want the Agent F guys to make one for you, they have a pop up outside Heals every day right up until Xmas eve! Just pay them a visit and they will sort you out!
* Thank you to Agent F for letting me be a part of their workshop in exchange for an honest review.