By K.C. MEADOWS Ukiah Daily

The smell of fresh pine boughs hits you as soon as you stick your head out the back door of the Ukiah Garden Club clubhouse on Clay Street.

Hundreds of boughs, donated each year by Mendocino Redwoods Company, are piled on the back porch ready to be made into the beautiful fresh Christmas wreaths the members of the club create each year.

Now is the time to order your wreath as the Garden Club members have only so much time to get them done. Last year they made and sold about 60 wreaths, but this year they're down to one really experienced wreath maker so they have to plan carefully.

The "experience" is running the specialized metal-bending machine that attaches pine boughs to metal wreath circles. Once that is accomplished, numerous Garden Club volunteers can do the decorating - sometimes as simple as a pretty red ribbon, sometimes more elaborate decorations including local berries and pine cones.

The fresh pine bough wreaths (and swags) are not only fragrant and attractive, they're also pretty cheap. An average price of about $25 buys a good sized wreath. (To order, call the Club at 467-9046.)

And fresh wreaths are not all. A Garden Club tradition are the unusual pine cone wreaths the Garden Club has been making for decades.

In fact, on Thursday, local resident Alice Clare Swan walked into the clubhouse cradling a beautiful old wreath which had been made in the late 1940s by the late Margaret Singley and hoped to have it refurbished. The 60-year old wreath looked almost good as new but needs a bit of pine cone here and there and will be resprayed to bring back its original shine.

The Garden Club will have its annual Holiday Tea and Workshop Sale on Sunday, Dec. 2 from noon to 4 p.m. On that day you can shop for any number of fun arts and crafts made by Garden Club members, from table decorations, to Christmas tree ornaments, to aprons, napkin rings and much more. New this year are some delicate miniature succulent plantings - kind of bonsai succulents - and also hand-made greeting cards. There will also be homemade desserts and jams on hand. Everything is very affordable and made locally.

If you can't wait, you can shop anytime at the clubhouse from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The clubhouse is located at 1203 W. Clay St.