Circles of joy.
Sleighbell Christmas Tree Farm in Sutton makes a wreath with Fraser fir, mountain laurel, cedar and juniper, decorated with red winterberries and natural pine cones. Owner Barbara O'Connor creates most of the wreaths herself, taking time off around Thanksgiving to assemble them. Her husband, Paul, gathers the winterberries; she picks cedar from the tree in their yard. The wreaths, she says, will stay fresh for months when left outdoors in the cold. The only mistake people make is putting the wreath between a main door and storm door. Then, she says, "they cook."
Sleighbell Christmas Tree Farm & Gift Barn
130 Whitins Road, Sutton
(508) 234-6953 - www.sleighbelltreefarm.com
The folks at Bemis Farms Nursery in Spencer not only sell wreaths, they teach you how to make your own. The nursery's popular holiday craft classes fill up fast; to sign on, visit their website.
A sampling of their wreaths, from top:
Birch Woods: Balsam, mountain laurel, rose hips, birch bark strips, cinnamon sticks and white-tipped pine cones.
Contemporary Charm: Balsam, boxwood, miniature lotus pods, native fern painted gold, and rose hips.
Natural Christmas: Balsam, boxwood, cedar, statice, magnolia leaf, birch bark strips, and palm bell.
Bemis Farms Nursery
29 North Brookfield Road, Spencer
(508) 885-4247 - www.bemisfarmsnursery.com
Echobrook Nursery in Worcester, a year-round garden center and gift shop, offers fresh and artificial wreaths. Owners Howard and Francine Shear say both are popular. They decorate many of the wreaths themselves, and do special orders and deliveries.
Two of the possibilities: Fresh boxwood, at right, and below, artificial hydrangea, artichokes and roses. Each is adorned with a decorative bow.
1120 Grafton St., Worcester
(508) 791-5939 - www.echobrooknursery.com
The Oakwood Farm Christmas Barn in Spencer has all manner of Christmas decorations. Among the wreaths you may find here:
A spray of green with red and white berries and white tipped pine cones, all positioned on a wooden sled made in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
Partridge Pear Wreath: A grapevine wreath adorned with small pears, pine cones, lotus pods, and a partridge.
The Oakwood Farm Christmas Barn
Route 31, Spencer
(508) 885-3558 -
Pleasant View Nursery in Paxton, which tied for Best Garden Store in Worcester Living's 2011 reader poll, moves from summer to fall to winter with ease. Diane Kennen designed the fresh holiday wreaths at left and below.
Balsam and laurel with gold and silver accents, pine cones and silver garland.
Balsam and laurel with Tahoe pine cones; the holly, rose hips, pear, apple and pomegranate are artificial.
Pleasant View Nursery
242 Pleasant St., Paxton
(508) 752-5967 - www.pvnpaxton.com
At Vandervalk Farm in Mendon, owners Casey and Sue Vandervalk have a different twist on wreaths: Besides traditional round circles, their Fraser fir wreaths are shaped as Christmas trees, candy canes, swags, crosses and more. The wreaths are handmade on the farm using boughs from their own trees and decorative touches.
25 Lovell St., Mendon
(508) 478-8733 - www.vandervalkfarm.com
The Sterling Garden Club, a member of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, is one of the local groups that sells wreaths, centerpiece baskets and other greenery for the holidays. Their annual sale sells out quickly. This year's event starts at 9 a.m. Dec. 3 at the Sterling Historical Society on Maple Street in Sterling. For updated information, visit their website at http://sterlinggardenclub.org. Garden club members will spend the days leading up to the event fashioning fresh arrangements for the holidays. One of last year's offerings, above, was a centerpiece with spruce, winterberries and other accents.
Fifty years ago, the Luks family started growing Christmas trees on their property in Auburn. Now, in addition to trees, they sell wreaths. This wreath, made by co-owner Richard Luks, contains mountain laurel, balsam, Fraser fir, white pine and pine cones.
Luks Tree Farm
38 Laurel St., Auburn
PHOTOG: PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM RETTIG