When Nik Southern opened Grace & Thorn in 2011, she was tired of seeing uninspiring rows of houseplants in plastic brown pots next to flowers forced into tight bouquets struggling to breathe.
She opened her florist shop, with the aim to allow flowers to 'dance and sing' and launched the hashtag #greenupyourgaff.
Since then, Grace & Thorn has attracted a cult following and celebrity clients including Alexa Chung, Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley.
In the first of three guest posts, Nik gives us a glimpse into how she does festive florals and foliage.
For us at Grace & Thorn nothing says welcome to Christmas, welcome to my home, more than a beautiful wreath adorning your front door.
The joy of making a wreath is all of the autumnal and wintery goodies that the season brings, and there are a plethora of plant and flower options to use.
Traditionally, the circular shape and the evergreen material made the wreath a representation of eternal life, as evergreen trees were a species looked upon with awe and admiration, since they, unlike most living things, survived the harshness of winter.
However, we use absolutely everything in our wreaths – cotton, thistles, ilex, rosehip, heather grasses, pine cones, oranges whole and sliced. We also use a mix of dried bits including poppy seed heads, lavender, yarrow, heather, scabiosa pods, lavender, honesty, dried artichokes and feathers.
With wreaths, your base can be a copper wire frame, which you can wrap with moss and add your pine to, but keep the moss damp to increase the life of your wreath.
Willow, wicker and rattan make good wreath bases to add dried flowers and foliage to. Other useful bits are twine and florist’s reel wire, gauge wire and floral tape to attach things such as oranges and pine cones to.
Evergreen is still a good base for a wreath – and you can use anything from holly, olive tree, pine, laurel, eucalyptus, spruce – but be mindful not to use all the same colour as this can make the wreath look dull.
Mix it up with different shades of green, different sizes of foliage, and stems with thick leaves, thin leaves and so on. This helps create movement and interest that will set your wreath apart.
It’s not all about the green though. If you want an alternative, use a copper wire frame base you can attach an array of dried and evergreen bits and pieces.
Forage for feathers, cuttings, berries and other items in your garden, the forest, or even the beach, as well as your local florist or flower market. There are no rules with what you can and can’t use, so express yourself and use whatever you like.
For us at Grace & Thorn, three is the magic number. We are huge fans of grouping and placing things in threes, see the three pops of berries here and three sprigs of grey mimosa. It balances the wreath and draws the eye.
The asparagus at the bottom offers the asymmetry that we live by. All of your foliage should run in a clockwise direction. What’s also important is to place some of your foliage, thistles, berries, etc, coming out towards you to create a beautiful 3d effect.
Overall, making a wreath should be fun, and get your creative juices flowing. My final tip is that if you are not sure how it’s looking, after you are well into making it place it on the floor. It’s much easier to see the overall look of it that way.
Want to buy a ready-made wreath that you can use again?
Check out our edit of the best Christmas wreaths.