Holiday Wreath Biodiversity

How many different plants do you see in this holiday wreath?

I had an online “wreath making party” with a friend who lives 5,000 km away. I created this wreath from basic household materials and 11 different species worth of small clippings from my “backyard.” Plants include English ivy (invasive), English holly (invasive), Salal (native), Boxwood, White Heather, Laurel, Pine + 4 other “evergreens.”  Even with 11 different kinds of plants, there were still so many more I could have included!

Wreaths were a fundamental part of the holiday traditions I grew up with.  Instead of buying plastic or disposable wreaths, I prefer making them out of reusable and compostable materials.  It is so much fun both collecting the materials and creating art from natural things.



Plants may be arranged like flowers in small household dishes and easily removed and replaced with fresh sprigs as they dry up.  In this case I used tiny snack dishes.  Larger dishes may be used for larger wreaths.  The tray makes it convenient for transporting the wreath.

Plants may be tied or woven together like a crown.  Make a frame with willow, ivy, or honeysuckle, or use wire to connect the stems.


  • This is a fun, safe activity for kids and adults during a pandemic.
  • Homemade wreaths are “green” in every sense of the word.
  • Turn the project into a scavenger hunt: How many different plants can you find without leaving your yard or block?
  • Get to know what is growing around you. Look up scientific names.
  • Set a theme: For example, only evergreens, only invasive species, etc.
  • Make it educational for your kids by having them collect the plants and come up with a species list.
  • Be sure you ask permission before picking plants off private property.
  • Ideally, cut sprigs from branches that have fallen to the ground or are otherwise considered “waste.”

And most importantly:

  • If you have pets or small children, take care to exclude poisonous plants and keep your wreath well out of reach. Do not include berries because they drop off onto the floor.
  • Do not leave candles unattended or let them burn too low (plants are flammable!)