Saturday, 22 December 2012

The wreath on the door of Garland HQ

rose and chrysanthemum wreath 
There are two questions that we get asked every year.  They are

Q 1.  How many wreaths do you make in a season ?

A       Don't know.  Too daunting to count at the beginning of the season, and just toooo tired to count at the end.

Q 2.  What wreath do you have on YOUR door.

A   It changes - this year we have had a succession of wreaths - starting out with last year's best seller, the Orange and Cinnamon...and then a rather lovely Mini Apple and Cinnamon (see below).  But some of our prototype experiments go on the door here at Garland HQ too.  The rose and chrysanthemum one above was a happy accident between a lovely bunch of flowers given to us by Mandy at the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project after our lovely day there making swags.  I think this one should go on the 2013 new product shortlist.  We shall see.  

apple and cinnamon wreath
We are nearly there now.  Just a couple more orders to sort and my own staircase and fireplaces to finish. Hopefully the light will be good enough to post some shots.  We shall see....

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Making garlands at the Zoo on Saturday

We are very much looking forward to Saturday (15th) as we will be hosted again by the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project at Bristol Zoo Gardens.  Our  workshop, Creating Christmas Garlands still has a few places if you would like to join us to make a 1.5 m swag (like the one below).  Its a lovely day with the workshop in the morning, the  chance to eat your packed lunch in the Zoo Garden followed by a 

nice brisk walk on the Downs with Mandy Leivers, the Education Officer to discover the history and folklore of seasonal foliage.  Booking through Mandy  at or phone on 0117 9030609. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

greengarland hydrangea wreath makes it to The Guardian Wish List

greengarland hydrangea wreath 
We are very happy here at garland HQ today.  Our hydrangea wreath has made it onto the Guardian Life and Style Wish List .  It also appears in today's edition of the Observer Magazine :)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Whats coming out of the workshop this week...

Orange and Cinnamon Wreath
This week has been busy but good.  We started on Saturday with a great day for the Whiteladies Road Farmers Market.  Cold and clear.  Lovely.  Ever since we have been in the workshop making up  and despatching orders locally, nationally and even one to Venice.

The wreaths sort of evolve as the season progresses so got the camera out and took a couple of photos of what we have been up to in the last few days.  This Orange and Cinnamon Wreath smells really good.  As does the Traditional Red Wreath below.

Traditional Red Wreath
We were at the market again at 5 a.m. buying  lovely fresh Welsh blue pine as we are working on a 18 meter monster swag to decorate a dining hall and staircase in a country house in Somerset.  We are going for a gold and orange theme with hints of rosemary and cinnamon.Will post some pictures of that work in progress later.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sending Christmas to Scotland

This weekend we have been busy in the workshop making up the first order for
Christmas Wreaths and Swags in progress

Country House Interiors, in Castle Douglas, Scotland. We have been collaborating with Mhairi McPhee who owns two fabulous shops in this lovely town in Dumfries and Galloways. We have been making a collection of wreaths and swags to decorate the shops and grace the doors and fireplaces of the good folk of Castle Douglas.  

We have designed a lovely themed set - fragrant with apple and cinnamon and lovely tartan ribbons.  We are really very pleased with them and hope they will be too.

Swags and wreaths for Country House Interiors
They are now all boxed up ready for the courier to collect them.  The trickiest bit was finding boxes big and strong enough to take them all.  It really would have been nice to have loaded up the car and driven them there, but that, I guess is for another day.

Christmas wreaths and swags for Mhairi
Well that, and the fact that I don't seem to be able to take any photos with the iPad without photographing my thumb or my foot.  Never mind.  Off to Scotland.  Let me know when they arrive, Mhairi.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Garlands on English handmade rope

staircase garland 
We are now gearing up big time for the season.  All the images for the gift cards and product tags have been selected and are now on order, hopefully to arrive in a few days.  I also received my order this week from Neil at the Traditional Rope Company, so we have all the rope and jute we need to get us through the season.

Handmade English Manila rope

There are boxes and boxes of different types of cones around the place drying including these lovely spruce cones that we will be using at the Creating Christmas Garlands workshop on the Saturday 15th December at Bristol Zoo Gardens, when we will be hosted by the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project.    Booking is through Mandy Leivers, the Education Officer.   This is a great day with the workshop in the morning when we will make long fireplace and staircase swags, a wander around the Zoo at lunchtime, and a lovely walk on the Downs in the afternoon to discover the history and folklore of Christmas foliage.  Mandy gets the tea urn out and brings the cakes.   We ran this for the first time last year and a good time was had by all.    

Spuce cones 
We are really looking forward to this event.  Come join us.  

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Hydrangea wreaths

Lily in the hydrangeas
This week we have been in full production turning our now semi-dried hydrangea heads into wreaths.  Please do not be fooled by what appears to be a cute kitty picture - this cat is merely hiding the fact that she is about to pounce by sitting among the work in progress - the tail is swishing and she is not best pleased.

Hydrangea Wreaths
There is something about the combination of rustling hydrangea and long bits of twine that really brings the absolute worst out in this animal, beloved by the rest of our household - but I am ambivalent at the moment to say the least. It is only me that she randomly attacks when I am least expecting it, drawing blood.  She clearly has never heard about not biting the hand that feeds.

 But now the hydrangea wreaths have been made, both traditional and heart shapes, both available via the greengarland website.  The colours have been very variable again this year as you can see from these two hearts, recently finished from different varieties of hydrangea bush, both grown locally.  This first one is a really dark raspberry pink, the other is much more muted with mauves and blues.
Hydrangea heart wreath 

I like the latter, especially as the greengarland show door where most of the photos are taken is painted with Farrow and Ball French Grey Eggshell.

Hydrangea heart wreath
However, this pic is taken on the table outside the kitchen door where I was working  yesterday - and now it is raining so that will have to be a photo for another day.      

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Foraging for pine cones

This week has been busy, but in a good way, with all sorts of things that make life interesting.  Interviews with the glossy magazines that are going to write articles on us, gathering and drying lots of hydrangea heads, and, best of all, an excuse to go foraging for pine cones.

The Pine tree at the top of our Street

We are really pleased that the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project will be hosting our swag making workshop (Creating Christmas Garlands) on Saturday 15th December, and in preparation for that, I went to the big house at the top of our street where the mother of all pine trees grows, in the garden of Mandy and Andy. This tree is some 30 metres from here which is a real bonus,  I am so not sure of what type of pine tree it is but nevertheless it is a real whopper which was probably planted around about the time the house was built in the 1930s.

I had a lovely morning amongst the badger diggings and fox holes in their garden, grubbing around in the undergrowth with that wonderful October whiff of decay  about the place.
Pine Cones

The shape and size of this cone really lends itself to loooonggg swags, rather than wreaths, so I am very pleased to have found such a large cache so close to home.  They will be stored in greengrocers trays once they have dried (and shed all their seeds around my kitchen) ready for taking to the workshop on the 15th December at Bristol Zoo Gardens.  These garlands are great for decorating fireplaces and staircases, but they also make the most wonderful scarves, only for the brave, matched with tweed coats and lots of panache.  You should try it.
Garland ~(swag)

Booking for this course is through Mandy at the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project.  Its a great day.  Come join us.    

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The new kid on the block

Apple and Cinnamon Wreath

We have been busy this week fiddling around taking photos, making samples and doing interviews for Christmas articles for the glossies.  We are very nearly ready for the season and the Christmas 2012 on-shop is now ready with the on-line payment facility all tested and fit for purpose.
Apple & Cinnamon Wreath
Here is a sneak preview of one of our new products this year -  the Apple and Cinnamon Wreath which will be available for local delivery and mail order in three sizes, from the mini wreath - for tables and tiny cottage doors (hello Charlotte!) right up to extra large wreaths for statement pieces for large doors and those folk that want to shout their Christmas cheer.  Lovely, colourful and fragrant - with cones, cinnamon sticks, apple slices on a base of willow from my Mums garden and Welsh blue pine.

I know its only October but I have one already on my door.  

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Come and make swags with us at the Zoo.....

Christmas comes very early in our house.  We have  taking photos for the website, working on commissions for our retail partners and finalising the 2012 on-line Christmas shop

We are running our Swag making workshop again at Bristol Zoo Gardens on Saturday 15th December, where we will be hosted by the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project.  We are going to be spending the morning making fireplace and staircase swags and then going for a brisk walk on the Downs with Mandy Leivers the Education Officer to discover the folklore surrounding Christmas foliage.  We also eat quite a lot of cake and drink lots of tea, provided by the Project.

blue pine swag 
Blue pine swag 

There are a few places available on this course.  Last year it proved very popular and we had a lovely day making lovely fresh fragrant decorated swags on English handmade rope to take home to decorate our fireplaces and staircases.  Why not join us.  Booking is through Mandy Leivers at the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

greengarland goes north of the border

Apple & Cinnamon  Mini Wreath with Tartan Bow
We have been busy working with Country House Interiors in the market town of Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire collaborating on a collection of wreaths and swags to dress Mhairi McPhee's two lovely interior design shops there in Scotland.  Here is a sneak preview of two of the wreaths that we will be supplying Country House Interiors this season along with some lovely fireplace swags.

All these wreaths are handmade and beautifully fragrant, with scents of cinnamon, apple, juniper, pine and rosemary.

Apple & Cinnamon Wreath with Tartan Bow
These products are exclusive to Country House Interiors.  They will be stocking the full range of sizes from mini wreaths for tables - right through to our extra large statement wreaths to dress the grand doors of the good folk of Castle Douglas.  All with matching swags on handmade English rope.  Will be available from November 2012.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The changing of the seasons

Hydrangea Wreath

September is here, despite the non-existent summer.  Never mind. We are busy harvesting what did not get eaten by the slugs, rendered catatonic by the cold weather or beaten down by the rain.  Luckily, Hydrangeas love the wet, so hopefully we should have a good crop for our Hydrangea hearts and wreaths.  If you are interested in either of these products, get in touch to reserve yours as they are not yet available and will sell out quickly.
Harvest herb wreath

This year's harvest herb wreaths are lovely too and we will be making more as September moves into October with what is good at the allotment and in the garden.  Of all the seasonal wreaths they are my favourite.

We are moving towards our busy season and now have the dates of the courses we will be running this year.  The University of Bristol Botanic Garden will be hosting us on Saturday 8th December from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.,with our Creating Christmas Wreaths workshop in their fabulous Potting Shed.
On Saturday 15th December we will be at Bristol Zoo Gardens as guests of the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project with our workshop Creating Christmas Garlands, making fireplace and staircase swags in the morning and going for an invigorating walk on the Downs in the afternoon with Mandy Leivers, the Education Officer, to discover the history and folklore surrounding the trees and shrubs used to make seasonal decorations.

Both courses are booking now and places are available.  Follow the links above for further information and booking details, or contact us for further information.

J is also making some nips and tucks to the greengarland website and putting in an on-line payment facility which should be live shortly.  All very exciting....

Monday, 7 May 2012

Spring Herb Wreath

Spring Herb Wreath
It has really been a typical British bank holiday, weather-wise.  Cold, hurling with rain, hail and occasionally between the almost biblical downpours the sun comes out and it is really then quite nice.  Even our May Fair was cancelled on Redland Green due vile weather conditions this year.

However, great growing weather.  The herb garden is coming on fine so ventured out between the showers and got together some nice material to make some spring herb wreaths.  All edible and made with bay, sage flowers, rosemary, lemon balm, bronze fennel and marjoram.


   This one is for a gardener who has gone to the potting shed for the last time....    

Monday, 19 March 2012

The best dressed doors of 2011

Greengarland Orange and Cinnamon Wreath on Georgian Farmhouse Door
I thought, although spring is here, to share my  favourite photos of the 2011 Christmass eason.  This one is of a large greengarland Orange and Cinnamon Wreath on possibly one of the nicest doors we dress.   This house is within 200 mtrs of us, and also has some of the best hydrangea bushes, that we use for our hydrangea wreaths.

Heart hydrangea wreath

Standard Holly Tree
              Opposite us also is a beautifully kept standard holly tree, which, this year, had berries like we had never seen before.  This was taken about two weeks before Christmas and was a wonderful sight.  I wandered across the road yesterday to check and there was not a berry to be seen.  Clearly the birds had found it.

We are currently working on making some changes to the website and will be putting some updates on there shortly including details of the 2012 wreath and swag making courses.  We have already confirmed our date with the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project  and will be running a course on Saturday 15th December 2012 making fireplace and staircase swags.  More to come.