Selvedge Magazine asked me to think about natural decorations for a piece in their Christmas issue so I did a bit of research into why we decorate our homes with holly and ivy and discovered that ancient folk believed that evergreens harboured nature spirits providing them with shelter from harsh winter weather.
This year I've been down to Winchelsea beach and picked up lots of bleached out sea kale to strew around the place and asked Alexandra Ball to make me some of her beautiful birch wreaths. She made some small ones which are ideal to decorate with bay or rosemary and hang in the kitchen to cook with.
She also kindly gave these tips on how to make a wreath...
How to make a Birch wreath
Find some young birch saplings or use side branches from bigger trees, the thinner the better as they bend without snapping at this time of year.
Strip leaves, if the leaves are not wanted or leave on if you like
Make a wire loop to your required wreath size.
Now start weaving the birch around the loop, it may be easier to attach the end of the birch to the loop using florists wire. Getting it started can be a bit fiddly until you get used to it.
Keep adding the birch starting from a different part of the loop each time until it has gone around evenly. Keep adding birch until you obtain the desired width then bend into a circle shape.
When you have covered the wire totally with birch you are finished.
If you can see the wire add more birch or other natural decoration, seed heads berries etc.
If you are confident that the wreath will stay together you can cut the wire and slide it out. Be warned this take’s practice and perfect birch lengths.
Kindly passed on by Alexballflowers.com
PS I wonder where I can get one of those snowmen