The holiday wreaths are up in downtown Camden as of Tuesday, Nov. 15 thanks to the efforts of the Camden Garden Club. For 51 years the Club has provided the town of Camden with its iconic holiday wreaths to adorn the 98 downtown lampposts. This year, the wreaths are again up in plenty of time for Christmas By The Sea, Camden’s annual celebration to ring in the holiday season.

The Camden Garden Club provides the custom handmade wreaths free of cost to the town of Camden. Dozens of the Club’s members contribute over 100 volunteer hours and the club itself contributes thousands of dollars in materials to this annual project each year which is completely supported by donations and funds raised by the club.

Wreaths arrive before 8 a.m. at the Camden American Legion from local Damariscotta provider Evergreen Farms. Photo courtesy of Camden Garden Club.

 

The club purchases the fresh balsam wreaths from local Damariscotta provider Evergreen Farms, which uses locally sustainably harvested balsam tips to form the double-sided fresh greenery wreaths. The club has procured the wreaths from Evergreen Farms for at least eight years.

Members of Camden Garden Club fix loops of lights to downtown lamppost wreaths. Photo courtesy of Camden Garden Club.

 

Each wreath is finished with a handmade crimson felt bow and a loop of warm white lights, both of which are purchased and finished by the Camden Garden Club. The lighted wreaths are then affixed to the lampposts by the town of Camden.

Wreaths are prepared by Camden Garden Club for pickup by the Town of Camden for installation on the downtown lampposts in time for the holiday season kickoff event, Christmas By the Sea. Photo courtesy of Camden Garden Club.

 

The practice of harvesting evergreen branch tips is a sustainable harvest technique called “tipping” or “tip harvesting.” Balsam fir tips are a multimillion-dollar renewable sustainable resource in Maine.

Camden Garden Club members use wooden frames to make the light loops for the 98 downtown lamppost wreaths. Photo courtesy of Camden Garden Club.

 

Making the wreaths and all their components takes months of preparation. The club’s members volunteer through two hours-long workshops in the fall to create the wreaths. The first workshop took place in October this year and was exclusively devoted to creating the 98 bows. Each bow is cut from spools of ribbon and assembled by hand.

The American Legion is home base for wreath assembly for Camden Garden Club. Photo courtesy of Camden Garden Club.

 

Since the 1950s, the club has provided holiday decorations for the town. The tradition of fresh balsam wreaths adorned with puffy red bows and lights began in 1971.
The wreaths will hang on the streets of Camden throughout the 2022 holiday season in place of the Club’s iconic red flower baskets. Making the bows for the wreaths is just one of the many services the Camden Garden Club provides to the town.

Employees of the town of Camden putting up the Camden Garden Club wreaths in 2021. Photo courtesy of Camden Garden Club.

 

The Club welcomes donations to support the wreaths and its activities, which can be made following instructions on the club’s website at camdengardenclub.org.

The oldest garden club in Maine, the Camden Garden Club cultivates the art of gardening to its fullest sense, develops and preserves beauty in and around Camden, and promotes civic improvements, education, and conservation of natural resources.