Notes on a wreath making workshop
The Garden’s annual wreath school at Howth Castle Cookery School guides attendees through the art of tablescaping, wreath making and foraging. Coupled with freshly baked goods and a hot lunch, this workshop makes for an idyllic and fulfilling festive day out. Below, Mark takes us through last year’s workshop.
On a dark winter morning in early December, we gather in the original 18th century Georgian kitchen of Howth Castle for our annual wreath school. I’ve been here for a while, setting up workstations and catching up with Sarah and John who run Howth Castle Cookery School and who welcome us back with open arms every year.
The day begins with introductions, hot coffee and oven-fresh pastries baked by the cookery school team. We chat about the day ahead and then, with our bellies full and our secateurs at the ready, we wrap up and venture out to castle grounds to forage for materials. From trailing ivy, browned bracken, woody pine cones and bare birch branches to festive berries and noble fir, I share some tips on what to look out for. The castle’s gardens offer a wealth of greenery and sculptural elements for us to work with.
We return to the warmth of the kitchen with our arms full and sort through our loot. Lunch is almost ready but we have time to make a boutonniere for a festive table setting first. We gather in the dining room for a delicious meal as prepared by Sarah and John and decorate the table with our creations, before returning to our workstations.
After taking everyone through the making of a simple wreath base, it’s time to start the wreath making part of the day. With the addition of some dried fruit I’ve brought along, the greenery and dried elements we gathered earlier start to be twisted into rings using a wire base for structure. After some time building layers and shape with berries and dried elements, the wreaths are ready. We finish the day with a candlelit tour of the castle, each choosing a corner of its grand reception rooms in which to photograph the fruits of our labour.
Between the Georgian surroundings, the mature gardens the incredible food, It’s impossible not to walk away from a day like refreshed and full of inspiration.
Join us for this year’s workshops at Howth Castle Cookery School on Dec 1st and Dec 3rd. Tickets are available here.
We’re also running our own workshops on Nov 29th and Dec 6th at our new space on Mill Street, D08 NN5V. Tickets are available through our website here.