Hunt and Gather

Just as our friends the gardeners and chefs preserve summer’s bounty to spark winter meals, designers hunt and gather materials for the months ahead.

By the middle of summer, the flower heads of alliums are dry enough to harvest and put away.  This one, Allium chrystophii, adds a great punch to designs when painted in a lively color.  Purple beauty in the garden in June and fireworks in the winter, how more useful might a flower be?

The Schenob Brook forms our northern property line.  The New York Times says our foliage is at its peak but around me, with so many ash trees, many leaves are down.

Milkweed, Asclepiaa syriaca, is beginning to open and scatter its feathery seeds on the breeze.  These opposing pods, free of the silky seeds, work really well in wreaths.

I am always collecting tree roadkill, especially clusters of oak leaves which look stunning when lightly sprayed with silver, just allowing the brown to show through.  These lichen encrusted sticks can be stored for a long time.

These ‘ingredients’ for wreaths or other designs are free for the picking.  If not on your own property, do be sure you have permission to do so, and wear your hard hat!  For the real scavengers, the fringes of highway maintenance areas and grocery store malls often have sumac, dog’s bane and other interesting materials.

Most everything mentioned in this post will appear again next month, gilded, bronzed, coppered or painted.  Now’s the time to hunt and get prepared.

Heads down, the botanical arts exhibitors among us will be walking and spotting all manner of pods, seeds, twigs, leaves, fungus, lichen and more which they will transform into beautiful jewelry.  Above, you see the materials on the card and on the platform, the alchemist’s magic.

Even the spiders are getting organized.


About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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2 Responses to Hunt and Gather

  1. Sylvia says:

    another good one! Love the jewel!

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