When receiving guests over the coming months, welcome them with this updated version of a traditional yuletide ornament, the kissing ball. This DIY arrangement can easily be made by clipping the evergreen trees and bushes in your garden.
In the Victorian era, a marriageable maiden would stand beneath one, hoping to be kissed by her future husband. Today, thankfully, finding a partner is much different, though the act of hanging a kissing ball remains a welcome conversation starter and is still thought to bestow good fortune onto those who walk under them.
Materials you’ll need:
Evergreen branches like fir, spruce, cedar or yew
Berried branches like crabapples, rosehips and hypericum berries
A grapevine ball
A ribbon for hanging
Thin gauge wire (florist wire)
How to assemble:
To make this berried ball of treats that the birds will love too, start with a premade grapevine ball about the size of a snowball.
Begin pressing 15 cm (6 inch) long sprigs of coniferous branches into the form and wiring it in. Next, add seven or eight glossy leaves of broadleaf evergreens like Japanese Pieris (shown here), holly or euonymus.
Next, add branches with juicy berries and fruit that birds will love, like crabapples (seen here), rosehips and hypericum berries.
To finish off and hold everything in place, wrap generously with natural twine and leave enough rope at the top to hang it in place. Adorn your porch, your trees and your foyer with balls of boughs and berries, invite friends over and enjoy a very merry kiss-mas!
Mist your hanging arrangement every other day to keep it from drying out prematurely.
Photography by Michael Hope.
Jennifer Reynolds, our previous Editor-in-Chief, is a long-time authority in gardening, do-it-yourself projects, urban sustainability, parenting, placemaking and community matters. Her features and columns have been published in Canadian Living, Canadian Family, Gardening Life, House & Home, Globe & Mail, National Post, Toronto Star & more. Plus, her designs and expertise have been featured on dozens of HGTV, W Network and CTV shows.