Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Christmas succulent wreath making? It wasn’t a text I was expecting to see from Yoga Woman. She wanted to know if I’d sign up with her for workshop at Botanical, a Hobart florist. It was only $100.

Group Christmas decoration-making and a 100 bucks in December. I was interested in the Lovely Deputy’s views on its merits.

‘If you don’t make an effort to enjoy Christmas it’s just another weekend and you’re a year older,’ he said. On that note, I enrolled.

Last Sunday morning, a group of women battled their way down the wind tunnel of Macquarie Street and piled into a sliver of a shop that on weekdays overflows onto the street with buckets of gorgeous flowers. On Sunday, the flowers were gone and on the bench that lines one side of the shop was individually spaced aprons, scissors and oasis wreathes, the bases for our creations. The lubricant for the creativity was the glass of Prosecco thrust into our hands by owner, Kate Sice, as we entered the store.

Kate has been running workshops as long as she has owned the store. She’s fascinating. Petite in stature and unassuming on first appearances. It’s not long until you realise she has the qualities of titanium – shiny silver and corrosion resistant. Three years ago she was doing it tough, a single mother with two kids, paying her mortgage on credit. She had let go of working in florists because she wanted more to life than bouquets of Gerberas and Asiatic Lilies.

At perhaps her lowest point, a friend asked where she would open her own florist if she could wish for any space. The barber’s on Macquarie Street she replied. The next day it was up for lease. She sold her home, paid her debts and had enough to take a leap of faith in herself and a new business. Botanical was born, full of some of Hobart’s most beautiful flowers and an annual workshop program. Succulents, bespoke rattan, traditional and living wreath workshops are perfect for Christmas. There are others during the year too like posy making and kokedamas.

It appears her initial reserve is the moral equivalent to drawing breath. She’s taking in the landscape of her class before she breathes life in and propels creative energy into every corner.

We pile out into the courtyard and discover a bit of Dodda vine and tubs of succulent fronds. Half the group returns with a pan of Dodda and the other half dampens their oasis wreath. We swap.

There are two key instructions to this wreath making business – hide your wreath base and tightly fill the wreath surface with succulents.

It’s a permissive space. Everyone selects and uses the succulents differently and that’s A OK. It makes every contribution unique and acceptable. There are many tips of course.

The vine is called Dodda vine and it’s difficult to source in Tassie because it’s a noxious weed. You can’t import it but you can forage for it or use an alternative such as Ivy or similar.

Make sure you closely space the succulents and push them in tightly.

Keep your wreath moist by dampening it every few days.

It can be hung from your door or you can use it to decorate your table.

I proudly walked mine through town afterwards and now it’s adorning our table where it will stay for Christmas day. For someone who’s creativity is focused largely on cooking, it was actually fun to make something decorative for Christmas and it definitely got me into the Christmas spirit.

Find Botanical at 139 Macquarie Street, Hobart, TAS 7000.

Find them on the interwebs – Botanical Hobart

Botanical recommend Waratah for the purchase of oasis wreath bases. They’re in Tara Street, South Hobart.

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