Saturday, December 15, 2018

Holiday Plant Lore: Wreaths by Carol King

Photo by Echter's Garden Center
Hanging a circular wreath of evergreens during mid winter is a tradition that goes back to ancient Greece and Rome.

In Roman times wreaths were hung on doors as a sign of victory and rich Roman women wore them as headdresses at special occasions. Roman emperors wore Laurel Wreaths. 

In Ancient Greece, wreaths were used at funerals to represent the circle of eternal life. They were also given to the winners of events in the original Olympic Games in Greece.

In early Christendom,  evergreen wreaths were laid at the burial place of early Christian virgin martyrs in Europe, the evergreen representing the victory of the eternal spirit over death.

Modern Christmas wreaths transcended from Celtic Kissing Boughs and the German and Eastern European custom of Advent Wreaths.

The word 'wreath' comes from the Old English word 'writhen' which means to writhe or twist. The circular ring shape of the wreath signifies eternity, and the evergreens represent growth and the everlasting. As the wreath is made of plants that remain green throughout the winter, it represents life in the dead of winter.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to keep your Christmas wreath fresh throughout the season:
  • Keep It Moisturized. Spritz the wreath with water every day or two focusing on the back of the bough rather than the needles.
  • Lay the wreath in a container with an inch or two of water. Lay on its back so the cut ends have access to the water.
  • Keep it cool and shaded. Choose a spot that does not get direct sun or heat.
  • Keep It Ventilated. Maintaining a good flow of oxygen around the wreath with help keep the evergreen tips fresh for much longer. Wreaths tend to last much longer when kept on an outer door.
If you are someone who chooses to leave the wreath up all winter, these steps will help maintain the wreath until Spring when taking it down is a sign of winter’s end and the anticipation of the new growing season.

How to Care for Your Fresh Christmas Wreath