With Christmas just around the corner, Georgia Miles, founder of The Sussex Flower School, shares an exclusive wreath-making masterclass


A wire wreath ring - 10” or 12”

A roll of wreath-binding wire

2 bags of sphagnum moss (bog moss)

Floristry stub wire - in lengths of 23cm (9”) and 37cm (14”)

A roll of wreath wrap (optional)

Wire-edged ribbon (optional)

Foliage Raffia (optional)

Sharp scissors or secateurs

Garden or rubber gloves

To begin

The wreath ring has an inner circle and an outer circle. Tie wire to the outer ring of the wreath ring, keeping the roll attached.

Create the moss base

Shake the moss out of the bags and sort through, extracting leaves, mud and sticks. If the moss is dry, spray a little water on it. Take a handful of moss and make into a rough ball. Squish it into the frame and secure by wrapping the roll of wire around it, pulling the wire tightly. Repeat until the circle is complete.

Aim to cover the frame evenly with a generous amount of moss to make the wreath plump. When you’ve finished, cut the wire and tie the ends, tucking them into the moss. Don’t worry about what it looks like as the moss base will not be visible when the wreath is finished.

Make the hook

Make a hook to hang the wreath on your door. Take a piece of 23cm (9”) floristry stub wire and fold in half. Create a loop by twisting the two legs about an inch below the fold-over. Force the two legs through the moss from the top of the outer circle, pull through from the centre and tie the legs, securing to the moss.

To mark the location of the loop, loosely tie a piece of brightly coloured raffia to it. If adding a decorative ribbon, loop around the moss by the wire loop and tie a double knot level with the loop. Leave the ends loose for now.

Prepare to add foliage

Before you start to add the decorative foliage, clear up all the moss, as bits may stick to the wreath and make it look messy.

Retie the roll of wire to the wreath by looping around the moss and twisting, keeping the roll attached. Georgia prefers to use wire rather than string to attach decorative foliage, as wire can be wriggled through leaves and stems, allowing them freedom of movement, rather than forcing them to lie flat.

Attach foliage

Foliage should be arranged around the ring in one direction, making sure you cover all visible parts of the moss ring, not just the front. “Remember: a wreath is a 3D object,” says Georgia. “It can be seen from the front, the sides and the middle so they should all be covered.”

Using sharp scissors or secateurs, cut the stems of evergreen foliage at an angle to create a sharp point. Force the point into the moss and bind it in place with wire, wriggling the wire through leaves and smaller stems to the main stem and securing it around the moss base. Pull tightly to secure it, keeping the roll attached.

Repeat until the wreath is complete, adding decorations as required. Cut the wire and tuck the end deep into the moss.

Make a bow

A bow is decorative, not functional, so choose a colour that creates a theme. Cut a 1m length of ribbon. Fold in a 9cm (3-4”) length from the end, and then fold back, holding securely with your thumb. Zigzag back to create loops, then hold in the middle. Repeat at the other end.

Squish the middle and tie around with wire: loop a length of wire around it so that the wire legs emerge at the back of the bow and twist one leg over the other. Position on to the wreath and attach by forcing the wire legs into the moss base.

What to use and how to attach

For evergreens, use blue spruce, conifer, eucalyptus and holly, and for flower heads, use hydrangeas and red or green skimmia. Try silver brunia with berries or twigs from the garden, or seed heads, such as Chinese lanterns, allium, dried lotus pods, silver white eucalyptus nuts. To attach, cut stems at an angle to make a sharp point, stripping the end of leaves, and force the point into the moss base.

Use the technique of wrapping a length of wire wrap, twisting one leg around the other, and forcing the ends into the moss base to attach pine cones, chillies, slices of dried fruits or cinimon sticks.

Where to find everything

Wreath rings, wire, stub wire and wreath wrap are all available in florists, wholesalers such as Workbox Direct in Shoreham (0800 389 1421 or www.workboxdirect.co.uk), online from Amazon and ebay, or through The Sussex Flower School. Sphagnum moss (bog moss), also used to line hanging baskets, is available from garden centres.

Foliage, flower heads, twigs, seed heads, pine cones, lavender, chillies, dried limes and oranges, and cinnamon sticks are available from florists, garden centres and some supermarkets.

You can find ribbon and raffia in haberdashers, the party sections of shops and supermarkets, and arts and craft shops.

The Sussex Flower School, Village Works, London Road, East Hoathly, East Sussex BN8 6QA. Call 07564 411475 or visit www.thesussexflowerschool.co.uk.

For Sussex Society readers, Georgia is offering a 10% discount on any courses at The Sussex Flower School until 31 January 2013. Simply quote code SS10 when booking a place.