Emily Avenson moved from San Francisco to the Belgian countryside to follow her passion in floral designing. First arranging flower compositions for weddings, today Emily grows her own flowers and teaches the craft in her chateau-turned-studio.by Lexi FadinaNovember 25, 2022
Bring a sense of the outdoors into your home this festive season, by decorating your fireplace with a garland. For that you can use fairy lights or a paper garland – or better yet, make a greenery garland with your own hands. To support you on this journey is Belgium-based flower designer Emily Avenson, who readily shares her expertise on how to craft a luxurious fireplace embellishment.
Supplies and flowers:
• Garden snips
• Chicken wire
• Self-adhesive hooks or nails
• Flower frogs or kenzans
• Atlas Cedar
• Lawson Cyprus
• Dried echninops
• Dried eryngium
• Wisteria seed pods
• Dried old man’s beard (wild clematis)
Step one: choose the foliage
For the garland it is crucial to choose evergreens with different textures. Try selecting an evergreen with softer and flatter branches and a spikier one for contrast. Prioritise branches that already have cones, berries and other dried elements on them, since they will add textural interest. You can also find some dried garden flowers, such as echinops ritro or eryngium. If you forage foliage from nature, do it responsibly so that you do not take away winter food or housing from animals.
Step two: establish a colour palette
If you start arranging your garland closer to December, embrace a monochromatic colour palette, since typical winter evergreens often lack in colour diversity. Those palettes could be colour blocked, for example, in silver and blue, or in several shades of green with some red berries for a pop of colour.
Step three: build up the garland's body
With the evergreens picked, you can either wire and tie your branches together for a more streamlined garland look, or place and layer your two heaviest foliage branches on top of the mantlepiece. Tuck them on an anchor for support.
Step four: create a chicken wire structure
To add wave movement to your fireplace, secure your base with a chicken wire. Take an elongated chicken wire structure and fold it onto itself. Place it along the foliage and fasten the wire with large-headed nails or self-adhesive hooks. With chicken wire in place, you have created a network of openings, into which you can weave the rest of the mid-sized branches to create the second layer of foliage texture.
Step five: drape the vines
Weave vine pieces like clematis and wired wisteria buds carefully through the chicken wire structure and through the rest of the branches on the mantelpiece. Take some wisteria pods, wire them together around the stems and insert them into your foliage structure, creating an elegant drop of wisteria pods. This will enhance the woodland ambience around your fireplace.
Step six: use flower frogs for support
With the garland’s body ready, you can finalise it by strategically placing flower frogs along your mantle. You can attach dried ingredients, such as echinops, onto them to build vertical height in your garland.
Now that you have successfully built and installed your festive fireplace dressing, invite guests to admire this luxurious evergreen creation.