What could be more symbolic of the holiday season than a Sempervivum — Latin for “always living” — wreath? Recently Jeanne Hollingsworth of the Garden Institute in Camden showed me how to make a fairly simple one.

Jeanne began by placing moss in a pan of water to saturate it. Those of us with extensive, damp, mossy ground in our landscapes can take small clumps of sheet moss from those areas to use in wreaths; they’ll grow back in within a year. Others can buy sphagnum moss at garden centers.

Then Jeanne grabbed a handful of moss, set it on top of a wire hoop about seven inches in diameter, and secured it onto and around the hoop with heavy cotton thread (a Knox Mill remnant).

Once the wreath was wrapped in moss, she used a chopstick (any pointed stick will do) to make an opening in the moss, and she placed a Sempervivum, or houseleek, plant with about an inch of stem attached to it into the opening, firming the moss around the plant. The plant will root into the moss and grow on, sending out offshoots, for years.

Different Sempervivum cultivars can give the wreath an interesting look — as can other succulent plants, including Sedum (stonecrop) species, and ivy. I plan to try the quickly rooting cuttings of Vicks plant (Plectranthus tomentosa) in a living wreath, and a larger wreath of culinary herbs.

Add some ornamentation — rose hips, shells, lichens that have blown to the ground, pine cones, ribbons, etc., and your wreath is done. Any objects that don’t lend themselves to being stuck in openings in the moss can be held on with florist’s pins, or U pins, or wired on.

This wreath was made to sit in a dish or saucer, where it can be watered easily and fertilized occasionally with a dilute, soluble fertilizer. The center could hold a candle, the whole thing serving as a centerpiece. Eventually, the wreath could be set in a spot in the landscape where you might want these succulent plants to grow, even as part of a green roof, assuming you’ve used hardy succulents to make the wreath.

You can make a larger, more substantial wreath by using a three-dimensional wire frame that holds potting soil in the center, wrapped with sphagnum moss. After succulents root into this wreath, which should take a couple of months, the wreath can hang on a wall or door. Jeanne cautions, though, that hung wreaths can stain surfaces. You can back a succulent wreath with plastic if that’s a concern.

To see how to make these larger wreaths, search for “making a living wreath” on YouTube. See, for example, youtube.com/watch?v=A37oSbmPeBA and youtube.com/watch?v=tf4Bg2gKAJM. You’ll see that different methods and an inspiring variety of plants can create living wreaths.

Recently, Money Magazine included a succulent wreath in its gift-giving ideas. “You don’t have to spend like a fool to give a gift that wows,” said Money. I was wowed by the $98 price tag. Think of how much money you can save by making your own living wreaths!