A Fifteen-Minute Garland

Last December, I was on a walk and came across a beautiful branch of hemlock that had been brought down in a windstorm.

Hemlock branch

So I brought it home.  Although hemlock does tend to dry quickly and become brittle indoors, I love it because of its small and adorable pine cones.  They can add so much natural charm to holiday decor.

The twigs and pine cones on this branch draped so gracefully that I decided to make a simple garland for the archway between our living room and dining room.

Preparing the Greens

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I shook the branch off really well and sprayed it with a little peppermint oil, which is a natural insect repellent, before bringing it in.  I left it outside for little while to give any insects that might have been on the branch ample time to escape.

Creating the Garland

Creating the garland took, at most, 15 minutes.

I cut the twigs off of the branch and laid them out (on the laundry room floor) to form the length of the garland.

Hemlock garland in the making

I used 22-gauge florist wire to securely connect the twigs to one another.  Then I just wound a narrow (3/4 inch) holiday ribbon through the garland.  I concealed the florist wire with the ribbon where I could.

That was it:  The hemlock, the florist wire, and the holiday ribbon.


Hanging the Garland

Even with help from my husband, this part of the project took a while.  We didn’t want to damage the wall by using nails, so we (and by “we” I mean Chris) hammered little nails to the top of the picture rail.  Then “we” used clear fishing line to suspend the garland from the nails

Hemlock garland
You can see the nail in the picture rail here, but the fishing line is almost invisible.


DIY Hemlock garland

The nails would be easy to remove, but we left them so they can be used for other garlands and bunting.


The Result

The garland was very simple, but that was exactly what I was in the mood for last year:  The beauty of nature without any glitz or gaudiness.  

The draping greenery and tiny pine cones created a fun little “enchanted forest” feel.

Hemlock garland


Hemlock garland


Hemlock garland

With the remaining hemlock twigs, I made a small wreath to hang in the window.

DIy wreath


Hemlock Doesn’t Last Long

The garland was fine for a couple of weeks but, when I took it down, I was reminded of why, despite its charm, hemlock isn’t used much in holiday decor:  When I moved it, needles fell everywhere.

It had become very dry and brittle indeed.

So, if you do use hemlock in holiday decor, just make sure to keep it away from anything that might cause it to catch fire.

Hemlock is fun to use in fuller wreaths too, such as this foraged wreath that I made back in 2014.

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