Homes decked out for the holidays add to the spirit of the season. When strolling about, take a look at the wreaths, tabletop decor and centerpieces — because you can re-create them at home.
In Virginia, you can walk Colonial Williamsburg’s Duke of Gloucester Street through Jan. 1 where you will see doors and windows decorated with fresh fruit- and floral-embellished wreaths and swags.
The Dudley Digges House on Main Street in historic Yorktown is festooned with fresh wreaths, swags and crescents made from garden materials by York/Poquoson Master Gardeners.
Here’s how to make one of those decorations:
Punch bowl table wreath
Decorating options are at their peak right now, and holiday evergreens, displays of fruit and nuts and countless other options are right at home, according to members of the Green Spring Garden Club, sponsors of the 57th annual Christmas Homes Tour.
“Often your guest numbers will determine whether serving your special holiday beverage could be the perfect time to dust off your punch bowl and place it prominently on your side or dining room table for easy access,” says Robinette Ross, a member of the garden club who created the punch bowl table wreath.
“It is also the most wonderful time to create a wreath to encircle the punch bowl — or any size and type of centerpiece bowl — and another festive and inviting feature for your holiday entertaining.”
For this year’s tour, garden club members used a silver punch bowl from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Collection as a focal point on a side table at the Elkanah Deane house.
Here, you can use a wire wreath form and wire sprigs of fresh evergreens to the form, or go the easy way and use a plain, ready-made faux evergreen wreath available at many stores locally. You can also purchase ready-made fresh evergreen wreaths in different sizes from garden stores in late November.
1 large bowl
1 plate representing the bowl’s base size
1 evergreen wire wreath form to make your own wreath — or ready-made faux wreath purchased from a craft or floral-supply store
5 large pomegranates
5 medium oranges
5 large pine cones
7 small pine cones
12 small lady apples
1/2 to 1 pound of assorted nuts in shell: walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts and almonds
Bottle of whole cloves
1 roll floral wire
1 package 6-inch green wired wooden floral picks
1 glue gun with refills
Ahead of time:
• Select the bowl and measure the distance across the base. Save these measurements for selecting the wire wreath or ready-made faux wreath size required, and the plate size used inside the wire wreath to simulate the bowl’s base during the arrangement’s construction.
• Start collecting the non-perishable materials from local arts and crafts retail chains; grocery stores, and garden centers.
• Week of creating arrangement, purchase the lady apples, pomegranates, oranges, and assorted nuts. Refrigerate fruit, as necessary.
• Day before making arrangement gather all non-perishable materials and prepare area for next day’s wreath assembly.
• One day before your event, assemble the arrangement to keep non-perishable items fresh.
• If you use a wire form to make your own wreath, cut and condition evergreen sprigs in water overnight; the next day, wire evergreens to form, fully covering the form.
One day prior to your event, create the wreath arrangement.
• Trim the evergreen wreath to enhance the round shape, paying special attention to the “donut hole” center branches.
• Prepare your table or work surface with plastic drop cloth for cleanup ease and transporting wreath.
• Place wreath on work area and place the plate in the center. Collect all materials and place near wreath.
• Starting with pomegranates, start placement around wreath, and wire to wreath using wire picks skewered horizontally and secured with floral wire to underside of wreath.
• Add large pine cones and secure with floral wire.
• Pierce whole cloves in vertical rows from top to bottom of oranges. Placing oranges around arrangement, using use wire picks, pierced horizontally through fruit, to secure to wreath with floral wire.
• Heat glue gun. Start adding the lady apples and mixed shelled nuts adjacent to larger fruit taking special care to glue each individual nut or apple to the evergreen branches.
• Step back and evaluate the wreath for consistency of design and fill in empty spaces as necessary.
• Make sure all items are secure prior to transporting wreath.
• Remove center plate and carefully transport wreath to new location. Place bowl in center of wreath until ready to fill with your favorite holiday punch. Cheers!