The halls are beginning to get decked, the high streets are adorned with lights that are switched on by minor celebrities and tomorrow is the first Sunday in advent. Every household has its own traditions over the festive season, we have many. One being that I make a wreath to hang on the door during Christmas. Over the years they have evolved from a quite traditional wreath to last year’s alternative, yet still festive, creation.
Wreaths should traditionally contain green with both the shape and colour representing everlasting life. In 2009 I made a chilli & lime wreath. For 2010 I had the slightly mad idea of making one from Brussel sprouts inspired by a paper one I’d seen on NOTHS. Here we love our sprouts from the common green sprouts to the beautiful purple Falstaff sprouts we lovingly grew and protected from caterpillars to have the generous harvest of a handful of sprouts. We also know them as Fairy Cabbages, a cunning name my parents called them to make me eat them as a child. Up there with baby trees for broccoli.
Due to the extreme cold weather we had in winter 2010 many sprout harvests failed or were frost damaged including the sprouts from my in-law’s veg garden. The sprouts were no longer suitable to served up on the Christmas dinner table as the majority of them had opened up like little sprout flowers, but not one to throw something away I decided to fashion them in to a rather rustic festive wreath. You could call this extreme upcycling. It was funny watching visitors to the cottage doing a double take when they clicked on to what the wreath was really made of. Given the fridge like conditions we had last year, I hung the wreath up 2 weeks before Christmas and this sprout wreath lasted a good 3 weeks before the sprouts began to yellow. This year with the mild weather we’re having I think you’ll be lucky to get 2 weeks out of the sprouts, but it is such a fun project it’s worth doing for both sprout lovers and haters alike.
Now I’m looking for inspiration for 2011’s wreath. Any fabulous festive ideas with possibly a food twist?
Brussel Sprout Wreath
Makes 1 festive Brassica beauty
Takes approximately 2 hours
Moss circle base (from garden centre) or you can make a base from pipe cladding bent into a circle and held in place with gaffa tape.
3 sticks of sprouts
thin floristy wire
1) Put aside the prettiest, unblemished, tightly formed sprouts for the final decoration. Use the uglier sprouts for the base.
2) Start with the middle ring of sprouts then work on the sides. Attach the sprouts to the wreath by wrapping florist wire around the base of each sprout then around the wreath. Alternatively they can all be stuck on with a glue gun.
2) Stick the final beauteous Brussels (the few ones that were still tightly formed ) around the wreath with the glue gun.
3) Adorn with a ribbon bow then hang on the door.