Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year! Winter Blog Update

Happy New Year to all who read this little blog of mine! I hope everyone has enjoyed the Christmas break and is ready for another hectic and exciting year. In church yesterday we were asked to think of good things that have happened in the last year and hopes that we have for 2012. One of my highlights of last year was definitely setting up this blog and I hope that in 2012 it continues to grow. At some point in the near future I will be organising a giveaway and I have lots of recipe ideas which fingers crossed I will find the time to try out!

This blog has been quiet over the last few weeks but I have been busier than ever! In the run up to Christmas I was gathering materials for my Christmas wreaths and getting out the boxes of dried flowers/seed heads that I collected over the summer. I made 3 Christmas wreaths this year, one for our own house and 2 for my grandparents. It is incredibly satisfying to make something like this which has cost next to nothing and looks so much better than the simple holly wreaths you can buy. The picture below shows one of the Christmas wreaths. As most of the materials are dried it is designed to be hung up indoors over a mantelpiece or doorway.

Although the wreath looks complex it is really quite simple to make. First a base is made of two strong wire bands which will hold their shape. A smaller wire band is set inside the larger wire band. The two wire circles and tied together with garden twine so that they are set in position. A hay band is then laid over the wire base and fixed in place with florists' wire. It is then a simple task to fix the fresh and dried materials to the base, again using short pieces of florists' wire.

The wreath includes:
Red berried shrub
Teasel seed heads
Ornamental & California Poppy seed heads
Clematis seed heads
Burdock seed heads
Tea rose flowers
Lavender flower sprigs
Chamomile flowers
Sea holly flower heads
Calendula flower heads
Straw flowers
Yarrow (Achillea) flower heads, broken into smaller pieces

Following Christmas I started another seasonal project, making willow windbreak hurdles. These should give great protection down at the allotment when I plant out crops such as beans, cucumbers etc.

The first windbreak starting to take shape:

I was lucky enough to get some great presents over Christmas, including a new Nikon camera to enable me to take better pictures for this blog. I got a chance yesterday to try it out on some birds at the local reservoir, the picture below shows a pretty grey wagtail in a stream:

I am also very excited to have been gifted a year's membership to the Garden Organic Heritage Seed Library. It will be great to grow and taste some of the very old vegetable varieties such as the Victorian era purple podded pea:

Happy 2012!

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