How to make holiday wreaths with kids – Santa Rosa Press Democrat

how-to-make-holiday-wreaths-with-kids-–-santa-rosa-press-democrat

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SONOMA COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS

Question: I have been wanting to include my 7- and 9-year-old in creating holiday decorations. I thought wreath-making would be a fun activity. Any suggestions?
Answer: Making wreaths with kids can lead to outdoor adventures and a chance for them to show their individual creativity. This is a great time of year to search outdoors for wreath materials. Make it a fun activity for them.
Take your children on a nature hike to look for materials for the project. You can find objects in your own backyard, or ask your friend’s or neighbor’s permission to explore their property. Keep in mind that removing any natural materials from public lands is not permitted, as it harms the environment.
Gather leaves, pine cones, acorns, dried flowers and evergreens. Mossy branches, seed pods and pieces of bark add interesting shapes and textures.
Buy either grapevine wreaths or wire wreath forms at your local garden center; they make a nice framework for attaching your materials and come in a range of sizes. If you want a wire loop to hang the wreath, it’s best to attach it to the back of the frame before you start to decorate.
Gather your supplies, such as small cutters, short lengths of wire, twine, ribbon or raffia, a glue gun with extra glue, gloves, a rag or old towel and a bucket of water to swish off dust or dirt. Cover your table with a waterproof cloth. Allow plenty of space for all your supplies and keep a workspace clear for your children.
Before your kids attach materials to the wreath frame, encourage them to plan the design by arranging items on the table around the wreath. They can move things around until they find the layout they like best. Once they are satisfied, they can stick, tie or glue their materials to the wreath.
Some materials can be stuck directly into the wreath frame; others need to be tied or glued. If they are using a glue gun, supervise them closely because the glue gets very hot. Craft stores sell glue guns for children that don’t emit as much heat. If you are helping glue the objects to the wreath, have your children place the objects on the wreath first to get the position “just right.”
There are a couple of strategies for creating the design. One is to start adding materials to the wreath from the top and continue down one side, then work from the top and down the other side, using similar objects on each side. If two children are working on one wreath, they can each do a side. The results can be delightful.
Or they could add materials in a continuous direction around the whole wreath, starting with larger items at the 12, 3 and 9 o’clock positions, then filling in with smaller items.
Finally, if your son or daughter wants additional adornments, such as bows, ornaments, figurines or fruit, they can attach them as they are creating or add them when the wreath is finished. You also can attach ribbons to hang the wreath.
Have fun and enjoy the adventure! May your personal, festive displays of natural elements lead to great holiday memories for you and your children.
December in the Garden
Mulch! In winter, mulch helps reduce soil erosion and compaction by rain. Organic mulches, such as wood chips, leaf litter, grass clippings, straw or compost, break down slowly while adding nutrients to the soil, ultimately feeding the plants. Mulch also helps suppress weeds.
Cover your existing compost pile with cardboard, burlap or tarp during heavy rains to avoid overly soggy compost. Too much water blocks out air, kills beneficial microbes and may cause unpleasant odors.
Clean out gutters to avoid overflow and to direct water to downspouts.
Plant rhubarb. Plant the roots (rhizomes) as soon as possible after buying or getting divisions from a friend.
Feed the birds. Keep suet and seed feeders full. Be sure to clean and disinfect feeders every week to prevent diseases. Leave some spent flowers in your garden as a natural bird feeder.
Take cuttings of succulents and create small container gardens for holiday gifts.
Reduce water to houseplants over the winter, when they are not actively growing, to avoid root rot. Ensure they are not exposed to heat sources.
Clean and sharpen garden tools. Remove all soil, then wash them with household bleach diluted 1:9 with water to avoid spreading diseases. Store them in a dry area to prevent rust.
Contributors to this week’s column were Linda Bishop, Pat Decker, Sue Lovelace, Patricia Rosales, Ellie Samuel, Debbie Westrick and Susan White. Send your gardening questions to [email protected] The UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County (sonomamg.ucanr.edu) provides environmentally sustainable, science-based horticultural information to Sonoma County home gardeners. The Master Gardeners will answer in the newspaper only questions selected for this column. Other questions may be directed to their Information Desk: 707-565-2608 or [email protected] ucanr.edu.

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