How to make a Christmas wreath with a Surrey lavender twist
PUBLISHED: 08:21 03 November 2015 | UPDATED: 12:26 04 November 2015
There's nothing like a handmade Christmas wreath to bring a festive feel to a home - but throw in some Surrey lavender and you have something extra-special. Leigh Clapp learns how to make one at a workshop at Mayfield Lavender
Need to know:
Mayfield Lavender Nursery and Shop, 139 Reigate Road, Ewell KT17 3DW
Open every day for winter bedding, gifts, Christmas trees and wreaths.
• For more information, visit the Mayfield Lavender website at mayfieldlavender.com
While Surrey may be renowned for its rolling hills and dense woodland, what is rather less well known is that, in days gone by, it was also world-famous for its lavender fields.
It’s a tradition that almost disappeared over the last century, but in recent years, it has been revived once again with a profusion of fields springing up in the north of our county.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Banstead, where Lorna and Brendan Maye run their 25-acre farm, Mayfield Lavender, growing this favourite flower organically for use in a range of products including body lotion, soap, essential oils, tea and dried lavender.
“This area was once the centre of the worldwide production of lavender,” says Lorna. “And we are proud that the field sits on the exact spot where lavender was grown in the 18th and 19th centuries.”
Lavender has been used for centuries as a healing plant and for its unmistakable fragrance, as well as its culinary uses, and the free-draining chalky soils of the North Downs of Surrey are indeed ideal.
The fields are a glorious sight in summer when the three different varieties of lavender, Folgate, Maillette and Grosso, are at their flowering peak.
“The fields are free to visit and we invite people to wander at their leisure through the plants,” says Lorna. “Our decision not to charge an admission reflects our belief that the lavender fields should be enjoyed by everyone and as frequently as they wish.
“We have noticed that our visitors show a really positive reaction to this experience; many leave us feeling more relaxed and revived than when they first arrived.”
Imagine then being surrounded by the scent of dried lavender at one of Mayfield’s wreath-making workshops. It’s no wonder it becomes a relaxing, social event as you sit around the table getting creative while enjoying lavender tea and cookies.
Alternatively, if you are not able to make one of their seasonal workshops, why not have a go at making one at home? Here is our step-by-step guide to the perfect seasonal Surrey wreath…
Steps to make your Christmas wreath:
1. Select a wire frame
2. Wire on the lavender straw, a handful at a time, going around the frame twice
3. Trim to create an even base without bits sticking out
4. Gather up your bundles of dried lavender, placing the stems in the same direction
5. Tie on the bunches of dried lavender starting from the bottom of the wreath
6. Work around the frame with the lavender bunches until the base is fully covered
7. Add decorative detailing with berries, foliage and pine cones
8. A bow adds the finishing touch
9. Hang your finished wreath
Did you know?
• Lavender is one of the most fragrant and versatile herbs
• The name comes from the Latin verb ‘lavare’ meaning to wash
• Lavender is said to promote relaxation, relieve stress and soothe headaches, aching muscles and joints
• The scent deters flies, moths, mice, mosquitoes and other pests
• To dry lavender, pick when the flowers are in bud, hang bunches upside down in the airing cupboard (with a bag below to catch any flowers that drop) and it will dry in one to three weeks.