Several other Blotanists have posted beautiful pictures of the advent wreaths they've made from garden offerings, including Diana at Elephant's Eye with her Southern Advent Wreath, and College Gardener's Happy First Advent Sunday post. College Gardener has mentioned another German custom dear to my heart, as it is named after St. Barbara: the custom of cutting branches of flowering shrubs and trees on December 4th and putting them in a vase in a warm room so that they bloom by Christmas. Take a look at her interesting post on the custom of Barbaratag. I will also be in my garden tomorrow cutting forsythia and apple twigs to this purpose.
Inspired to find something in my mostly dormant garden that I could use for a traditional German advent wreath with four candles, I took inventory and came up with two candidates. First a conifer that I don't really like and I've always thought out of place in the garden, see below. When I cut some branches I discovered, however, that it has very soft fragrant needles, so perfect. (Please click to enlarge any photo.)
Second, I decided to use some twigs of the beautiful variegated boxwood that stands like a sentinel at the entrance to the garden, next to the espalier pears.