If you don’t know be my now I am a forager. I may have been a squirrel in my past life as I am always collecting from nature. Rocks, twigs, pine cones, antlers and feathers are scattered throughout my home. I forage year round creating vignettes with my finds reflecting the seasons.
My foraging radar is on full tilt at this time of year as I scour for greens, pinecones, osage oranges and magnolia seed heads to decorate with for the holidays. Yes, it may be a lot easier to buy greens at the market but foraging for decor is much more fun and it’s free! Plus there is so much more variety out in the wild and your decor will be much more original. I tend to create decor that speaks the season rather than the holiday which allows for it to last well beyond Christmas.
This past Sunday I taught a workshop called Foraging for the Holidays where I brought in baskets of foraged finds. I had so much fun giving foraging tips and telling stories of my foraging adventures. Everyone went home with a handmade creation from the wild. Below you will find a few of my tips from the class.
Foraging for the Holidays
~Send out an email or Facebook post to friends and family in search of greens. Most people are happy to share.
~Host a greens exchange with friends where everyone brings clippings and finds from the wild or backyard to exchange with one another. Serve cookies and cocoa or even better, wine and chocolate
~Keep supplies in your car at all times. You never know when you will happen upon a foraged jackpot! Sharp clippers and a saw, heavy duty gloves to protect your hands from scratches and sap, baskets for collecting small things like pine cones, a log carrier for larger branches, waterproof boots, and bungee cord or rope for that mother load that may have to be strapped to the roof of your car.
~Starting in November keep an eye out for fallen debris especially after a storm. Be sure to pull over at a safe spot on the side of road when collecting and turn on your hazards.
~If you spot fallen finds on someone’s property don’t be afraid to knock on the door and ask if you could partake. Most people would be thrilled to have it cleaned up.
~Collect foliage with an array of textures, shapes and hues. Aside from green seek out blues, greys, chartreuse and yellow. Mix and match different textures and colors in an arrangement. Add twigs for height.
~Fresh hardier herbs such as rosemary or bayleaf make a beautiful accent to a holiday arrangement.
~Add form and texture with pinecones, magnolia seed heads and osage orange.
~Search out branches with pine cones still attached. They look beautiful added to an arrangement of other greens but also all by themselves hung on a door or window. I like to use them as trellises or stakes in a pot of forced bulbs like paper-whites or amaryllis.
~Wood is a versatile, beautiful addition to your winter decor. Tuck a few candles in little nooks and crannies of your wood pile for your next party. Cut a log into thin disks of wood, drill a small hole in each and string wire through to add to garland or wreaths.
~Create outdoor vignettes with what you have. Pull things from the garden like trellises or oblisk and add to pots of greens for height and dimension.
~Add accents to store bought wreaths and garland. I admit I do buy a few cheap wreaths and simple pine roping each year but then add an array of other greens to add more bulk, color and texture.
~Add greens to store bought bouquets to add height and variety.
~Use foraged greens to fill in eye sores like empty pots, planters or window boxes. String in some twinkle lights.
~Pick spots to decorate that are visible from the indoors. I like to add greenery to my window boxes where I can enjoy the view as I wash dishes or eat meals.