"Wire is my best friend," Janet said with a laugh.
She starts with a complete spool or card of thin, 22-gauge floral wire (around $2 for a spool that probably makes two wreaths) and keeps it intact, starting by securing it to the wire form. Wrapping and securing one bunch of greenery, then stopping and gathering another bunch of greenery, she then picks up the spool again, lays the next bunch of branches on top of the last, and wraps and secures it, continuing clockwise around the form. After securing each bunch, she will take her clippers and cut the woody stems back a bit to allow the next bunch of greenery to lay flat.
Janet said the last bunch of greenery is the toughest to add -- keeping the space free from the other bunches sometimes requires a helper.
At the end, she flips the entire wreath over and snips the wire, leaving a 6-inch tail that she secures to the wire frame.
The finished product is huge -- more than 3 feet across -- and lush.
Janet learned from the ladies in Spencer's Hills and Hollows Garden Club, who used to come to her location to make wreaths and teach the classes each year. Now, she takes their knowledge and shares it with others.
Janet teaches health-care classes three days a week at Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington while Stan runs the farm. They have a son, Luke, 13, who's in eighth grade at Walton Middle School.
If you are like me and need hands-on help making your holiday wreaths or garlands, Janet teaches classes at Still Meadows Farm.
Wreath-making classes will be held at noon Saturday, and at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3. Classes fill quickly, but Janet said she might add others if there is interest. The fee is $35, and that includes everything needed to make a large, fresh wreath.
Still Meadows Farm, 8426 Charleston Road, Walton, WV 25286; call 304-577-6249. Visit www.stillmeadowsfarm.com.
West Virginia State University Extension Service is holding a holiday wreath and centerpiece-making workshop in conjunction with Putnam County Parks. The event will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Valley Park Community Center, Valley Park, Hurricane.
For a $20 fee, workshop participants will receive all the items needed to create their own wreath or centerpiece with hands-on instruction on technique, including how to find good materials directly from the landscape.
Registration is required. Call 304-562-0518, ext. 10.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.