THE WONDERS OF HONEYSUCKLE DISCOVER ITS MANY USES FOR HOLIDAY ARRANGEMENTS
A walk around the property yields plenty of natural material for decorating. Honeysuckle vine is a wonderful resource for making wreath bases. Its smooth texture and delicate leaves are perfect for harvesting almost anytime of year, making it an ideal material for use in any season.
TIPS FOR GATHERING HONEYSUCKLE VINES
Test the vine's flexibility by twisting it around your wrist be for cutting it. If it breaks or crumbles find a more resilient one. Honeysuckle is very resilient and is a wonderful vine for novice wreath makers.
Try to pick longer "runners" 3 to 4 feet long. This makes them easier to wrap into forms.
Sometimes I remove the leaves for the vines before wrapping them- it's a matter of preference.
Conform the vine into the form you desire then let it dry to keep its shape.
This rustic sphere is the perfect winter arrangement to hang on the shepherds hooks used for hanging planters during the summer. This simple design requires several long Honeysuckle runners, Arborvitae greens, and Barberry sprigs.
December is an unusual month for planting bulbs, but I couldn't resist purchasing these discounted treasures from the bargain shelf. There is still time to tuck them in before the soil succumbs to freezing temperatures, so I decided to plant them this morning. I hurried outside in the crisp early hours to bury my nuggets. They now have a home in the flower box attached to the pergola. March will be a symphony of bright welcoming color- my anticipation of Spring is already greater than Christmas! See if you can find a few bulbs this December. They're the gift that keeps on giving!
FUN DAFFODIL FACTS
Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for Daffodil
The Victorians thought daffodils acted as a symbol of regard.
Prince Charles, from the British Royal Family, is annually given one daffodil as a form of rent for property on the Isles of Scilly.
Daffodil bulbs contain a substance called galanthine, which has medicinal properties used for Alzheimer treatments.
It's a winter's delight to stumble upon bright red berries emerging through a fence row. They're the crowning jewels of any Christmas arrangement. I prefer using wild berries in my designs. Fresh wild berries do not drop as quickly as commercial ones. It is imperative to wear leather gloves when clipping berries to protect against sharp thorns. Two of my favorite wild shrubs are the Barberry and Multiflora Rose. These plants, once promoted as wildlife cover and soil conservation, grow freely in pasture fields and other untilled areas. The Multiflora Rose has served as a living fence on farms and ranches since the early 1800's. Many states designate these plants as noxious weeds due to the rapid spread of their seeds from birds. Regardless, the beauty of finding a red berry against the white backdrop of winter is inspiring.
Multiflora Rose Hips
After writing this post I can't help but ponder: Why do berries have thorns? Is it natures way of deterring small animals to provide for the birds? What do you think?
Birch branches add new dimension to winter arrangements. My favorite type is Mountain Birch, native to Pennsylvania. Its smooth brown bark and tiny buds are the perfect texture for wreaths and bases. Birch has a pleasant fragrance, and remains very flexible weeks after harvesting. Add birch twigs to swags and centerpieces as a filler, or bend it into forms for the perfect base (see below to learn how to make one of my signature birch designs for the holidays).
Just clip a few birch branches and fold together. Tie the bundle where the twigs cross with wire. Now you have a simple base!
The Birch Tree has a long history as a craft medium, and provides many useful possibilities. It was once the main component in constructing bark canoes, trapping baskets, and rustic twig tables. Some people still chew the bark to maintain dental health. You may even find it in your local convenience store disguised as Birch Beer. Sally