In winter, food can be hard for birds to come by. Using materials from your yard, you can make a wreath that both feeds them and looks good while doing it. Here are the things you’ll need:
- Wreath ring
- Floral wire
- Floral picks
- Wire cutter
- Ribbon or burlap
- Evergreen branches
- Assorted seedpods
- Assorted fruit and berries
You can find supplies #1 through #7 at any craft store.
Collecting plant materials
- Evergreens and pine cones
You’ll want to use evergreen cuttings as the base of your wreath. Use your pruners to take short cuttings of thin branches. Look for conifers that have small cones on lower branches that are easy to reach, like Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana, Zones 2–9), arborvitae (Thuja spp. and cvs., Zones 2–7), and hemlock (Tsuga spp. and cvs., Zones 3–7). Birds love to eat the seeds inside pine cones. You can also harvest any large pine cones that have fallen from the top of trees like Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus, Zones 3–8) and Norway spruce (Picea abies, Zones 2–7).
- Seed heads
In winter, your garden should be full of faded perennials with seed heads. Look for seed heads with interesting shapes and textures, like those of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 4–9) or ornamental grasses.
Take cuttings of trees and shrubs that bear fruit, like winterberry (Ilex verticillata spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), crabapple (Malus spp. and cvs., Zones 4–8), and beautyberry (Callicarpa spp. and cvs., Zones 5–9).
For more choice of plants to take cuttings from, check out Plants for the Birds in Your Region.
Constructing the wreath
- Begin constructing your wreath by attaching cuttings of evergreens to the wreath ring. Line the cuttings against the wreath and secure them at the bottom with a piece of wire. Make sure to tuck the ends of the wire in so that they can’t hurt the birds. Layer cuttings on top of each other so that the end of one covers the base of another.
- Add cuttings of plants with seed heads, pine cones, and fruit. You can secure them with floral wire as well. Be creative, and think about colors and textures when placing your cuttings.
- For soft materials like sunflower (Helianthus annuus, annual) seed heads or large pine cones, pierce them horizontally with floral wire, like you’re using a sewing needle, and tie them on. You can also pierce them with floral picks and attach the picks to the wreath.
- Attach a ribbon or piece of burlap to the top of the wreath. Hang it outside for the birds to feast on all winter long!
The ingredients for the wreath featured in the video:
- Eastern red cedar
- Eastern white pine
- Purple coneflower
- ‘Strawberry Fields’ gomphrena (Comphrena haageana ‘Strawberry Fields’, annual)
- Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa, Zones 2–7)
Diana Koehm is the assistant editor for Fine Gardening.
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