Easy & elegant wreaths

Bold and beautiful, these wreaths of flowers, foliage, and cones are easy to mak
Kathleen N. Brenzel

Whether bursting with crimson flowers, thick with red berries, or simply elegant in contrasting greens, a wreath you've made yourself offers the warmest of greetings. Florists or supermarkets supply festive flowers by the bunch, such as carnations in Christmas red or white with red stripes.

In Western gardens, trees and shrubs offer up ripe-for-picking rose hips, California pepper berries, nandina berries, and pyracantha berries.

Many shapes of cones are available; if trees in your own garden don't supply them, you can buy them at craft stores and florists' suppliers.

Nontraditional greens such as golden junipers and arborvitae can add sparkle to an underpinning of more traditional pine, redwood, or spruce.

A gorgeous ribbon or a cluster of flowers adds panache as a finishing touch.

First, some tips. Each wreath starts with a base of wire, wood, plastic-backed floral foam, woven grapevine prunings, or twigs ― most are sold ready-made at craft stores or specialty florists' supply stores.

It's easiest to cover the inside edge of the base with plant material first, then the outside edge, and finally the front.

To add flowers, foliage, pods, or cones, glue or wire them over the base.