By Liesl Clark
When it’s time to take down your wreath after the holidays, get out your pruning clippers and cut the wreath frame free from the pine boughs, compost your pine boughs and you’ve got a wreath frame for next year.
We place our aging wreaths around the chicken coop fence to adorn their abode and when Christmas comes around the next year, I reuse my frames. But this year I was lazy. My husband, Pete, and friend Rebecca found 3 wreath frames on the beach when we were on one of our “Mapping Plastics” legs circumnavigating our Puget Sound Island.
Seems some islanders throw their grass, tree, garden, and bush clippings along the banks of the shore, including their wreaths. This is a long-standing practice as evidenced by the number of yard debris dump sites we’ve found along the shore. Residents want to fortify their bluffs and low banks with grass, sticks and garden waste. But now there’s evidence this practice isn’t great for our waters.
According to Island County’s Shore Stewards News, “If you use fertilizer or other chemicals on your lawn, those chemicals will make it to the shoreline along
with your clippings, killing fragile marine life. Grass without chemicals can be dangerous, too, as the excess nitrogen can raise temperatures and pose a danger to marine life.”
The dense organic debris in piles, which will ultimately end up in the Sound, can pose problems for shellfish beds, too. Our discovery of the wreath frames wasn’t a surprise, after all, because they’re plastic. They were destined to begin a journey onto our waters, but we plucked them from the bank as they easily rested on top of some sticks. We had no idea what they were at first and it wasn’t until we later inventoried the plastics that we determined their purpose. I Freecycled some, saved one, and now I have a homemade wreath to show for it!
Truth is, my rosemary bush needed a haircut. Pete pruned it and I’m using the clippings for my wreath. A trip to the back yard with pruning shears resulted in a few sprigs of salal and holly. And with a few pieces of salvaged thin wire found on the beach, I wove together my rosemary wreath — all from salvaged materials.
If you’re interested in more inspiration for making a wreath from salvaged stuff, please visit our Trash Backwards app where we have lots of ideas for reusing things in your home: