The Collection

the collection (14)I will admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed constructing this collection of winter wreaths. That they will be boxed and packed away until next fall does not bother me in the least bit. There will be a season for them-to come.  Making them for a time yet to come has made me think about how gardeners invest their energy in a landscape or garden that will bear results some time in the future. Digging in tulip bulbs in unpleasantly cold conditions in late fall for the pleasure that is their blooming months later is a case in point.  It takes time for a seed to germinate, and grow on. Hellebore seeds germinate readily, and unless you are a passionate hybridizer, you can let nature take its course.  But that sprout is many years from its first flower.  And many more years from a handsome mature clump. Most things imagined, worked for, and accomplished in the garden involves time.

the collection (12)No matter what you put to a landscape, you will do the time. There is no getting around this.  I might plant a 10″ caliper beech, but I know it will be 10 years before that beech recovers from the shock of the transplanting process, and starts to grow.  If I plant a 1″ caliper beech, it could be many more than 10 years for that tree to grow to a substantial size. There is no getting around an engagement with the future. The investment in the future of a garden takes planning, lots of grime, and patience. In my own garden, I delight in the things I have done by instinct. I love the texture and smell of dirt. I have patience for nothing, but for my garden. That’s me. Not everyone has an interest in dividends which pay an unspecified rate at some vague date many miles down the road. But by and large, I find gardeners are willing to invest themselves in a process of growing on that may take many seasons to bear fruit. I see evidence of this all the time. I think this willingness to bet on the future of a landscape is a characteristic I really admire.

the collection (15)Those gardeners who think through a landscape design, and sign up for installing that dreamboat of a garden one shovel full at a time – bravo. I know plenty of gardeners who have moved mountains with a spoon. The garden they hope will be is all about the promise of the future. No wonder spring is that season that delights every gardener. The work of the previous year is one year older.  All of us who garden have a common bond. We dig as though we only have 10 minutes to live.  And then we wait.

the collection (16)The waiting can be next to impossible to endure. There are those who keep on gardening, as if possessed, even when the day is done, and the sky is dark. There are those who plant a whip of a tree, and watch it, as if they could not bear to change the channel.  I do not know any gardener who is happy about waiting.  But wait, they do.

the collection (17)This wreath, which took an inordinate amount of time to design, and an endless amount of time to make, might be my favorite of this January series. I love seeing the grapevine structure, upon which all else is built.  The bleached acorn tops and the preserved baby’s breath  are just about the same color. The acorn tops are some lighter than the gyp. I cannot really explain how this arrangement of color and textures speaks to me-but there is no need. It is all there, to be seen. Look quick, as Sunne is ready to box this up, and put it in storage.

the winter wreaths (6)After taking this outside to photograph it, I hung it back up on a wreath hanging suction cup affixed to the glass of my office door. At the end of the day, I came back to my office.  The suction cup had given way, and this wreath was face down on the floor. There is damage that will take a lot of time to repair. This is no different than all of the disappointments that dog gardeners routinely. Any investment can sour. Will I repair this wreath due to debut next fall-oh yes I will.

the collection (6)I have so enjoyed having my hands on a group of natural materials, and arranging them as I see fit. The making is all about the pleasure of this moment.  As a gardener, the moment I put my shovel to the ground is as sweet as it gets. I am happy to report that I am in that winter sweet space, having a great time.

the collection (7)wreath detail

the collection (10)wreath with dried limes

the collection (11)wreath detail

the winter wreaths (11)winter wreath

the wreaths (16)split pine cone wreath detail

the collection 24the beginning of the series

grapevine wreathI have one grapevine wreath left to go.  You can see the bare bones. I have hopes it will be the best of this series.




  1. Your wreaths are beautiful! I love reading your posts! It is so clear that you love what you do! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and talent?

  2. Elisabeth Eggleston says

    Your wreaths make me want to make some right now. Would you mind sharing the
    recipe/proportion of bleach to water when mixing to dye pinecones and acorn hats?

  3. A beautiful post. So full of understanding and willingness to wait, taking pleasure in the now, and hope for the future.

  4. Charisse Andrews says

    I so relate to this post. Thank you and I really, really love and appreciate the creativity you poured into creating these beautiful wreaths, and sharing that process with us. Stay warm.

  5. These wreaths are lovely, and such a testament to the winter patience of a gardener waiting for spring to reveal the live beneath the soil. Might I ask what wreaths you hang during this time of year, when from February to April we wait and wait for the earth to reveal spring?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Trish, I do not have a wreath hanging in any other season but the late fall and winter-although this year I did not do one for my front door. I thought my big garland was enough. best, Deborah

  6. Great wreaths! Inspired by your wreaths, I hung a few wreaths in the manicured forest to the left of my driveway. Walking the forest paths, with my Bernese Mountain Dog, Caesar, we look at the wreaths adorning the 30-50 ft. white pine trees. Amidst this is a burning pile of branches and debris that have fallen from the trees. Keeping this forest clean is one of my winter gardening projects. I love walking this forest area. Winter projects definitely help to pass winter days. Thinking about spring and planning upcoming projects also helps. .

  7. Very nice. Inspirational. I have some spots to hang wreaths now that you have spurred me on.

  8. As usual, you are a spectacular artist!!! I wish I had half the ideas you keep in your little finger. Maybe one day! 🙂

  9. deb gordon says

    Put my name on that fist white wreath, please! Stunning. It will be beautiful on my dark brown front door.
    Deb Gordon

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Debbie, I will put your name and phone number in the box-we’ll give you a call first thing when it comes out of storage. thanks! Deborah

  10. Grace | eTilth says

    Hi Deborah, That white one is mesmerizing, and I love the limes. Are those white puff-balls on the first one made from Berzelia? Very unusual.

    Elisabeth – I wasn’t sure if the acorns/pinecones were whitewashed or bleached (two different things; whitewash uses lime, I think). Martha Stewart’s recipe is 4 parts water to 1 part bleach, leaving the material submerged for 12-24 hours. The pinecones will open up again when they dry.

  11. I love your work! Would you mind telling me what you used on the first white wreath? woukd love it for my front door.

    Thank you,

  12. Deborah, these are gorgeous!! Can you share your source for the open-weave wreath bases? I would love to buy in some of these for my design team. Were they easy to work with? Did you wire everything in? Or glue?
    Thanks for any suggestions!
    Keep up the amazing work!

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