17 November, 2014

Southern Advent Wreath and Christmas door wreath

 - gardening for biodiversity 
in Cape Town, South Africa

30th November will be the first Sunday in Advent. Growing up in South Africa, Advent Wreaths and hanging a Christmas Wreath on the door were a foreign, Northern custom, till I met the Ungardener and went to Switzerland. (For our mediterranean summer Christmas, bits of conifer in a wreath outside, might stay green for days). Hergiswil Glasi is on the shores of the Vierwaldstaettersee. Gallery/museum with a water and glass organ.

Glass Advent wreath from Hergiswil

I was enchanted by this glass Advent wreath – water, we must have water! Andrea bought it for me – and I think of her each time I use it. For a southern summer advent – a deep bowl, which holds lots of water. A heavy glass insert with eight holes, for candles. (On a bubbled glass charger to stop the balls running away!)

Silver and white Advent wreath in 2009

Gold, silver and white in 2010 Advent wreath

Each year I use something different from our garden. The Ungardener misses snow, prompting silver gray Prince of Wales feathers from Dusty Miller with white silk Christmas balls. In 2015.

God, the Father’s love
Can reach down and bless all hearts
From his heav’n above
And when lips are moved by grace
They so sweetly sing
Pray for peace in Africa

God bless Africa
And her sons and daughters

‘Plea from Africa’ was composed by John Knox Bokwe (1855-1922). He visited Scotland and sang his hymns in a tenor voice at social gatherings. From Dictionary of African Christian Biography

Darker colours for Advent 2011

In 2011 I was drawn to darker colours. The teal blue platter is from my sister. One tuberous begonia leaf spreads its palm in support behind the candles. Olive leaves, turned up to show silver, are the arms extended in an embrace. Agapanthus. Lily of the Nile? De Nial is a river in Egypt. Agapanthus is at home at the other Antarctic end of Africa. Blue African lily forms a family all its own, found only in South Africa. Roses – Anna’s Red, Papa Meilland and Alec’s Red.

Silver and white jasmine flowers for 2012 Advent wreath

Santolina to fill in. A few wild jasmine flowers Jasminum annulare for perfume.

Advent 2013 Blue flowers and red silk balls

For 2013 I used darker blue and purple flowers. I chose Agapanthus and Plectranthus neochilus. Sprigs of olive are a symbol of peace.

From Rev Ken Collins - Martin Luther certainly didn’t invent the wreath itself, because that goes back to ancient Roman times, and probably even earlier. People used wreaths as an Advent decoration long before Luther. The Advent wreath in its present form started in Germany as a Lutheran family custom. Four candles – hope, love, joy and peace.

Wreath at the door

My sister made me a wreath of grape vine prunings. Real and lasting. Doesn’t have to be hidden and is strong enough to sustain my woody bits.

Vine wreath

Dried protea flowers

In March 2009 we went to Kirstenbosch annual sale of indigenous plants. These are mostly from proteas. During a fire, the flowers close their woody bracts. Singed black marks are a heritage from the flames. After the fire, and rain, the flower opens and scatters MASSES of fluffy seeds, leaving behind these wooden flowers.

We hung it on the wall next to the door in Porterville.

Door wreath for Christmas 2009
and there it stayed since I loved it as a welcome

Christmas wreath on the face brick wall of our Porterville home

Brown and wooden so I added fluffy blonde wild oats, which stood in our Porterville garden, almost as tall as I am. We had grateful birds visiting.

Pictures by Diana Studer  
of  Elephant's Eye on False Bay 

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  1. such beautiful, beautiful wreaths, I love that you use what you around you! I hope you are well,

  2. All the advent wreaths are lovely Diana, using different colours makes each one special. The door wreath is very nice. I like plain and simple and it looks just perfect. Here in my part of Canada we are getting our first snows of the season, and it isn't even winter yet. Have a wonderful day.

  3. I love your wreaths, especially the 2009 one with the muted colour scheme, and I love that the birds visited and appreciated it.

  4. I enjoyed your advent wreath in its different manifestations, but my heart broke when I read "Plea From Africa." I was surprised when I discovered the author was not contemporary.

    1. while my heart sings along, as I have so often sung that in the choirs I was part of.

  5. Lovely--all of them! What a wonderful tool to use for your arrangements. And it's sweet that the Advent wreath changes every year. :)

  6. I had never used silver leaves in Christmas wreath until I saw your post a couple of years ago, now they are a regular feature. so I am most grateful to you. I love all your wreaths, and I am rather envious of your gorgeous grass bowl. I hope your move has gone well, a first Christmas in a new home is always special.

  7. Your advent wreaths are inspirational. Your door and wall wreaths are timeless. The prayer is so moving. P. x

  8. They are all a beautiful tradition. I love the natural look of the protea flowers. The silver and white is so elegant.

    I hope your move is going well and you are ready to celebrate in your new home.

  9. I always enjoy seeing your advent wreaths Diana....I agree very inspirational and I loved the story of the dried protea flowers....very special to include on your wreath.

  10. I absolutely adore that glass wreath. I've never seen one before and it's gorgeous. Love that you can have live flowers to adorn the table along with candles. Your choice of flowers over the years is beautiful, you have a creative touch. Green wreaths will be hung on doors here soon. The cold weather preserves the branches for many weeks, sometimes months.