I know I bang on about Seasonal Rituals a lot here on Littlegreenshed. My rituals are important to me. But when I say rituals I don’t necessary mean a voodoo witchcraft ritual, instead more about the little routines that are done year after, forming markers in the yearly calendar. Something to look forward to, to enjoy at a relaxed paced.
One of these rituals is gathering greenery for the house. I love to have ivy and fir decorating the mantle and strewn over bookshelves and mirrors. But what shall we look out for during our walk, and how to take from the wild responsibly?
When walking in the woods for greenery I always take a good sturdy pair of secateurs and a basket to carry the cuttings in. You will want a pair of scissors or snippers that are sharp and won’t cause damage to the bush / tree. You can also take a pair of gloves, as holly is spiky!
What to look for
Evergreens. Holly, Ivy, Fir frongs, Yew, Mistletoe. Also fir cones in all shapes and sizes. Dried grasses, seed heads and so on. Anything that once it has been cut and taken home, it will last over the festive season. Holly, Ivy and Fir can be turned into wreaths and strewn over the mantelpiece. Where as grasses, seed heads, old man’s beard can be added as interest to your arrangements.
How to gather responsibly
Only take a small amount from each tree / shrub and move on. If you come across a Holly bush covered in red berries, take a couple of sprigs and leave the rest for the birds. If you are walking in the woods, you will see many trees, so it’s kind on the environment to never strip a tree completely.
In our local forest, the Forestry Commission had been through cutting down trees, and tending to the management of the woodlands. I found many branches of fir and holly cut down, making it easy for me to pick as much as I wanted from these discarded branches.
Look for variety. There are many species of Fir trees out there. Even cuttings from your Christmas tree will look great in arrangements. Texture, variety and interest.
How to make your greenery last
Remember to store your cuttings in a bucket of fresh water until you are ready to arrange or display. I’m not a big fan of using floristry oasis, so my greenery will naturally die over the festive season. If it does look a little too ‘dead’ then it doesn’t take long to pop out to the woods with the kids again and gather some more to refresh.
Above all, enjoy getting out in the woods for some fresh air. Perhaps make it into a game for your kids once they are on holiday next week. Get them to identify trees and help in the cutting and gathering. Once home, you can spend a few hours turning your foraged finds into beautiful wreaths to adorn your home.
For inspiration on how to use your greenery, why not take a look at my Festive Pinterest board.
Note: this post was originally posted back in 2017.