It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Published 8:05 pm Sunday, December 3, 2017

While most local homes won’t have a team of greenery experts’ help to deck the halls this year, wreaths made with some professional guidance will adorn some local homes during this Christmas season.

The wreath workshops at the Hills & Dales Estate were all sold out this weekend, much to the chagrin of several last-minute hopefuls. However, the people over decorating of LaGrange’s most festive public home were able to provide a little insight so anyone wcan create their own wreath using fresh greenery this year.

The wreaths in the workshop required only a few simple supplies: a straw wreath, an 18-inch stem of floral wire, plenty of floral or greening pins and the all-important greenery. These simple items can yield a wide variety of creations, as was evident during Saturday’s workshop.

“Just seeing how everyone’s is different (is my favorite part),” said Jo Phillips, horticulture manager at Hills & Dales. “They are all unique. From a few basic materials, you can have so many different versions of a wreath.”

The first step to creating the wreath is to use the wire to create a U shape. Then push the points of the wire through the straw wreath, leaving enough of a loop to hang your wreath. The ends should be twisted together and tucked into the straw wreath.

Next, take the greenery that you have gathered for your wreath, and cut it into sections that are about 3 to 6 inches long. Arborvitae, leyland cypress and cryptomeria were used to create the wreaths in the workshop with other greenery like magnolia, boxwood and holly leaves serving as accents.

Finally, attach the greenery in bunches using the floral pins so that the greenery overlaps the floral pin of the bunch before it. Continue attaching greenery until the wreath is covered, remembering to cover the sides of the wreath.

“Usually what I do is I cover my base first and then I add accent greens,” Phillips said. “You don’t have to do that. You can do it simultaneously. You can alternate. The possibilities are endless. There is not truly a wrong way that you can do this, as long as you are happy with it. You do what you like.”

The wreath workshops are a popular part of the estate’s Christmas programing and generally fill up quickly.

“People really enjoy the wreath workshops,” said Carleton Wood, executive director at Hills & Dales. “It is our most popular (workshop), and we are doing three of them this year, and I think we could really do four or five because we had a waiting list. People enjoy making them.”

The Hills & Dales Estate is decorated with fresh greenery every year after Thanksgiving, and this year’s efforts to decorate the 13,000-square foot home for Christmas was completed last week.

“The greenery and everything in the house is fresh,” Phillips said. “There are some dry hydrangeas, but there are live plants, live poinsettias, so we would have to decorate twice if we did it before Thanksgiving. We spend the whole week decorating. Then we hold these wreath workshops.”

For more information about the Hills & Dales Estate or its upcoming events, visit or call (706) 882-3242.