outside in: bittersweet and rosehip wreath

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Somehow, unbelievably, it has become the time of year when people put wreathes on their front doors. I must have left my brain back in mid-summer and instead am standing stupefied at the thought of snow on the ground. Nothing speaks to late fall like the arrival of bittersweet and rosehips, so to celebrate the season I gathered some of both and made a wreath including some other autumn prizes- Chinese lanterns, pomegranates and persimmons. All of the elements will hold up throughout the holidays, but since bittersweet is a wicked, wicked invasive, be sure to take precautions to avoid spreading growth when the season is through.  -Amy Merrick

Read the full post after the jump!

To save on time, I used a store bought grapevine wreath base from my local craft store. If you are industrious and live by a wooded area with grapevines,  you can make one also. I gathered a bucket of rosehips (some store bought), grasses, chinese lanterns, cat tails, persimmons and pomegranates.

Keeping the pieces of bittersweet as long as possible, weave them in and around your wreath, tucking in the ends to secure. The trick is to add a lot until the grapevine becomes less and less visible.

Once I added all of my bittersweet, I started in with my grasses and then my rosehips. I like to have a circular direction to my wreath, so I tuck in each stem in the same direction, cut side on the left and then continue up the wreath. Since the wreath is just a tangle at this point, all you need to do to have your stems secure is just jam them in hard.

Once the base of the wreath is finished, you can add the final decorative bits. Since my fruit was on the branch, I was able to just jam their stems in to secure, but you can also pierce each piece with wire and attach.

Abigail

Gorgeous!! I can’t wait to make my wreath this year. I really love the persimmons & pomegranates in this one; it feels so abundant!

Alicia

It is totally irresponsible to encourage the use of this invasive weed.

elisa

stunning, i’m going out foraging in the hedgerows for some berries and hips. the birds may eat it, but that would be beautiful too. x

Caroline

Please be very careful abut bringing any bittersweet onto your property. Once it takes hold on your land it is extremely difficult to eradicate. Harvesting it from the wild only helps to spread the weed – those beautiful berries are extremely efficient at becoming smothering vines wherever they are dropped.

Ashley

How do you keep the persimmons from rotting? This is gorgeous, btw.

gluten free gift

While the bittersweet is absolutely adorable, it would appear that it has some side effects! A similar effect could likely be accomplished with other types of twigs with berries – as a rule, I try to use what is already plentiful in the environment. That said, I don’t know enough about horticulture to know whether any type of plant will have consequences later! Thanks for the post – and the educational comments that followed it!

Molly from eatcology.com

Beautiful wreaths, but I’ll echo what Caroline said… with a twist. The bittersweet that makes beautiful wreaths is the one with berries up and down the vine, and this is the invasive one (The native version carries its berries at the ends of the vine and can be very pretty in your garden.)

In order to keep it from spreading (on to your property or elsewhere), make a post-holiday ceremony of burning the wreath in your (fireplace/ grill/ hibatchi, etc). With that event included in your holiday season, then making these wreaths depletes the supply of wild bittersweet instead of adding to it. So craft away, but burn it.

Amanda (Dear Frances)

Gorgeous work Amy! Such a bountiful, beautiful wreath to usher in the Thanksgiving holiday season, which I can’t believe is only a couple weeks away. My most prized souvenir from our recent trip back home to Maine was a bittersweet wreath bought from a woman selling them roadside on Route One. I will be sure to watch for any dropped berries – thanks for the warning!

Katie

We used the little berries for filler in our wedding bouquets (I talk about my wedding a lot, but hey, I know a lot of people getting married, all our flowers were orange… at it’s really the only flower experience I have). Turned out beautiful. I have a few in our fake flowers in our dining room too.

Someday, I’ll start doing the wreath thing. I have a Christmas one, but that’s it so far.

C Kernen

When I lived in the states, if you knew where bittersweet grew, you didn’t tell a soul. It was such a prized resource and was almost extinct. It is the endangered species where I lived. Where on earth is such a treasure trove of bittersweet found? I’d love some. I used to dry leaves, dip them in parafin and attach them to a wreath of bittersweet…it was stunning!

Cait

This wreath is stunning. I am not usually a big wreath person BUT I think I have found my exception! Love the colors and the texture. Great explanation as well! TY!!!

Mary Ellen (don't include web address w/comments. thx)

The wreath was lovely! I might even give it a try! I have 2 questions to ask. What kind of “grass” are you talking about? Lawn grass? What do you do when your fruits start to rot like your persimmons and pomergranites? You had your wreath on a fence, but I’d like the wreath on a house door. Are there any tips on preserving fruit to make it last longer? Can you make any suggestions regarding that method that take to this better than another, or is it just replacing the fruit? Thanks!!

amym

The grasses are just a wild type of dried grass. Not lawn grass :)

The pomegranates will last quite a while outside in the cold. They dry and shrivel a little. The persimmons will look nice for about 3 weeks when outside. I still have this wreath going and it’s on it’s 3rd week now.

Eric

If bittersweet is so wicked, shouldn’t we avoid spreading their seeds? By spreading a Non Native Invasive plant, this project can create a ton of work for some people and even for entire communities.

Sylvia Marshall

What a beautiful wreath, Amy! Thanks so much for sharing the instruction. I bought one similar to this a couple of years ago, and the berries are falling off. I need a replacement.
Thanks.

Rose

Gorgeous wreath! This is perfect for the entire fall season. Thanks for all of the detailed photos and directions.

Max Furniture

Fresh floral wreaths add color and fragrance to any home. The wreath in the pictures are amazing, there colors and the shapes are beautiful.

Just Energy

This lovely wreath is made from rose hips. It works great as an indoor and outdoor wreath. I will be making it myself and its fantastic.

Trina Wilson

I absolutely love this! Beautiful fall colors… I will be making this wreath this weekend! Thank you!

Jill G.

Oriental bittersweet (or Chinese) is invasive and to be avoided, however, American bittersweet is a native vine. I have had it growing in my yard for over ten years and it is not by any means taking over. There is also another bittersweet that I just planted called Autumn Revolution. Remember not all bittersweet is bad-do your homework before you cut.

Kali

This wreath is beautiful. The best part is that you can have it out through all the holidays. The beginning of fall all the way through Christmas! Did you find the berries fresh or are they from a nursery or are they fake? I’ve seen a lot of fake ones made like this but this one looks so much more vibrant and beautiful! Great job!

Polystyreneps

Great idea. I loved the way you used those berries to make such a beautiful thing. But this needs to be protected from rodents too. lolz. Coz they love berries as much as we do.xoxo

mary york

love the combination of rosehips and bittersweet. can you suggest anyone out
there that might sell me a case of bittersweet i live in oregon.

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