Wreath Making in Brooklyn

Towards the end of 2017, I secured a temporary position making Christmas wreaths, garlands and swags at Troy Nurseries' new garden retail spot in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Mind you, I already had two jobs, but horticulture in New York slows down towards the end of November and pretty much grinds to a halt mid-December. That is, unless you have a cushy indoor horticulture job like making estimates on garden installation projects, designing floral arrangements, or watering plants in a greenhouse. I'm just kidding about cushy. Those jobs can actually be strenuous. And we all know what sitting at a computer all day can do to your back. 

This post is a visual catalog of the work I did during my brief tenure of wreath-making. I made some good friends, had wonderful conversations and some hearty laughs. Working with my hands to build the wreaths and garlands feels so natural, it makes me wonder if I should eventually pursue an avenue of horticulture where I can create things with my hands. Here are a few of my favorite wreaths that my colleagues and I made. 

Gabriel working on a 25' garland. Some wreaths and a dissected Frasier fir tree visible on work-tables.  

Some of my first wreaths: a little skinny but pretty good with minimal instruction! From top left going clockwise: 10" diameter Pinus strobus (White pine) with pine cone; mixed 10" Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Crippsii' (Golden Hinoki False Cypress) with Cryptomeria japonica; mixed 16" Cryptomeria, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) and Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar)

Took upon myself to make a Magnolia grandiflora wreath! It was tricky but worthwhile. I think this one was 16" diameter.

Same picture as above, but with a camera filter

Mixed 10" Chamaecyparis and Cryptomeria with pine cones

A few of the group wreaths on a display table.

Working on a mixed 20" wreath of Magnolia virginiana and Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula' (Weeping Alaskan Cedar) 

Finished product with bow!

Mixed 10" (inner diameter) Cryptomeria japonica with Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Hicksii' and Juniperus virginiana

This one is a little lopsided, and either 14 or 16 inches: mixed Pinus strobus (White Pine), Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) and Abies fraseri (Frasier fir)

This one is a little wild! The inner diameter (of the frame) is 10" but the wreath pushes way beyond that! Mix of Juniperus virginiana, Abies fraseri and Rosmarinus officinalis

Another wild one! This time, with pine cones. Juniperus virginiana, inner diameter is apx. 14"

Our handy-work. Note Grace's beautiful addition of dehydrated oranges to her abundant wreath of Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Crippsii' and Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula.' Our boss Roberta made the great Frasier fir wreath to the left, while my Magnolia wreath waits for someone to take it home.

Cryptomeria japonica, inner diameter 10"

We took photos of our wreaths after the snowfall.

Gabriel working on yet another garland. Can you sense a pattern here??

Wreaths on display

Wreaths on the front gate.
Note the barbed wire above - the rebar was bent on the other door and the barbed wire began falling into the shop onto the plants. Makes you feel right at home!

Another wreath in the snow.

Checking out trees in Washington state after the season ends. 


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