Giant wreath now Christmas highlight

ONE of the most enchanting aspects of Christmas is the dazzling display of lights and decorations that adorn high streets and homes.

The Bishop’s Palace in Wells goes all-out at Christmas with its illuminations and decorative displays – including the giant wreath that hangs above the Gatehouse.

The wreath is the work of florist Jen Owen and her colleague Jess Chant at Goldfinch Floral Studio who take around eight hours to assemble the 8ft-high showpiece. A wealth of foliage, sourced from the Palace’s gardens, is painstakingly gathered and bundled into four large bags. Once pieced together, the wreath is then raised into position with ropes from the roof of the Gatehouse.

This is the fourth year that Jen has made the wreath, which is due to be in position this year by November 28. She said: “Making the wreath is an annual highlight for us and really gets us into the festive mood. It’s a challenge working out how to embellish the foliage with items large enough to be seen from the ground. Last year we used a splattering of metallic ferns, pampas and birch to help it ‘pop’ when high up on the Gatehouse.

“This year, we will be featuring the classic Christmas colours of red and gold, which we will create with red berries and sprayed gold branches and greenery.”

Merryn Kidd, Interim CEO at The Bishop’s Palace, said: “The hanging of the Christmas wreath from the Palace’s Gatehouse is always a highlight of the Christmas season for us. It’s so striking and eye-catching for visitors, volunteers and staff alike and really marks the start of the festivities here at the Palace.”

Jen Owen at work on one of her creations

The creative minds at Goldfinch Floral Studio, based at Rookery Farm, Binegar, are behind some of the most distinctive floral decorations in Wells and the surrounding area. These include the multicoloured dried flower decoration at Loaf cafe in Market Street, Wells, and many floral wedding decorations at local churches.

Jen will be passing on some of her expertise at a number of Christmas Wreath Workshops at Goldfinch Floral Studio in December when adults will be able to learn how to craft luxurious wreaths. There are also opportunities for children to create botanical baubles and decorate Christmas cookies.

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