IT WAS THE HASHTAG #madebymen that got me, when I saw it on Broken Arrow Nursery manager Andy Brand’s Facebook page, alongside a photo of a handmade holiday wreath. Andy and colleague Chris Koppel, the nursery’s sales manager, were having some fun, sharing their latest crafty creations on social media.
But wreathmaking is serious business at Broken Arrow, the Hamden, Connecticut, rare-plant nursery that had its roots as a Christmas tree farm—and still does a big holiday business in trees. In keeping with Broken Arrow’s take on plants in general, unusual is better. No plain old, plain old wreaths here.
I thought sharing some of Andy’s photos might provide all of us gardeners with inspiration to get out into the garden and collect some goodies, and perhaps embellish a basic evergreen wreath ourselves. (Plus, get details of their wreath-making workshops if you’re nearby.)
“It’s Broken Arrow’s 68th year for Christmas trees,” said Andy, when I reached him between chores like covering greenhouses and stashing nursery stock before winter settles in for good—oh, and between wreaths. “We’ve probably been doing the wreaths for 60 of those years.”
(I loved the photo above from Broken Arrow’s Facebook page of founder Dick Jaynes and his son Burton dragging holiday trees around the nursery.)
Whether #madebymen or by the women on the team, Broken Arrow wreaths can be purchased at the nursery, or better yet: Learn to make your own in a series of hands-on workshops there beginning next week. Two sessions on Monday, Dec. 1, two on the Dec 2, another on Dec. 4 and a holiday centerpiece event on Dec. 8. Information and reservations.
All the ingredients are included—and that means gleanings from many unexpected colorful and textural elements from the nursery inventory, such as Japanese umbrella pine and maroon doghobble (Leucothoe), top photo, or ‘Blue Ice’ cypress, middle photo. Just bring work gloves, and a pair of pruning shears—and, the listing on the Broken Arrow website says, imagination.
Wish I lived closer! I’d be there! Merry Merry !
A great article, Margaret, about a wonderful business here in CT. I purchased some great plants from them at your “open garden” this year and plan to visit them in Hamden next Spring. Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Thanks, Susanna. I always enjoy the creativity and plant passion of the Broken Arrow guys, wherever they express it. Happy holiday.
Those wreaths are beautiful! This will definitely give me some motivation to try my own wreath this year! My sister-in-law and I also have purchased many times from their displays in your driveway during the garden tours- we so look forward to new and exciting things they bring. We are huge fans!
I am so glad that I live close enough to Broken Arrow (BAN to us) to be able to shop there regularly. Getting wreaths on Monday!
Wow! I’d like to live nearby too!
I make my own wreath every Christmas from greens and other things I collect from my yard, woods, roadsides , friends’ gardens and yards etc. Never the same twice…and very satisfying too.
I’ll share an unusual tip to add interest…good for fall wreaths too. If you have osage oranges growing nearby…slice them thinly…place on a foil covered baking sheet…dry in your oven on the lowest heat…time varies depending upon how thick the slice and how firm the fruits are. Sometimes I use hairpins as “picks” or wires so I can attach them easily to a wreath…add the wires before baking. The slices will shrink, sometimes wrinkle…they resemble dark poppies when they have been dried.
I love to add Japanese Black Pine Cones to needled arrangements, also Euonymus ‘Manhattan’ foliage, glossy and green. One year I painted my dried Breadseed Poppy seedheads gold and stuck them into the wreath, too – gorgeous.
Thanks so much for this article – I just became a subscriber to your blog a few weeks ago I think, and saw this come through my emails – and lo and behold, it was a Connecticut spot, not too far from me! I had never heard of them before, but I immediately signed up for their wreath making class. I just got home from it tonight and it was lovely. I am so excited by the huge wreath I got to make that is now hanging on my front door. Truly a CT gem, so thank you for introducing me to this nursery!
Julie, I am so glad you connected to my dear friends at Broken Arrow. Wait till you see the place in active garden season…oh, my, the temptations. Watch out! :) Thanks for writing tot ell me what fun you had.