Gigi Huckabee offers up this wonderful idea for anyone interested in decorating for the season with a wild, woodsy scene.
Want to add a woodland scene to your holiday décor? Then go take a hike…in the woods or along a country road. But first, get prepared. Decide where the arrangement will be set up: dining table, sideboard or hall table. Take measurements. Then look for the perfect hollow log to fill with woodland treasures. Explore with bucket, trowel, clippers, and saw in hand.
First, select a hollow log that is suitable and removable. This might require the help of an experienced chainsaw operator or someone handy with a saw. Check to make sure no wood termites or grubs are already in residence. Not practical? A wooden elongated bowl like a dough board or a rustic tray could substitute for a log. Just find small pieces of limbs that you can incorporate into the scape to add vertical interest.
Next look for various rocks, bits of moss, lichens and dried material that are the right size for the piece. You could use a rotten branch with lichens attached as a log in the creation. Select small pinecones, nuts, and even a few dried leaves or seedpods, depending on the desired look and scale of the design. The grey moss I collected in the woods is called reindeer moss, perfectly named for this time of year.
Protecting the piece of furniture on which you place your design is equally important. First, cover the piece with a runner or tablecloth; next add moisture-proof, green florist paper on the area where you will place the arrangement. Buy enough packages of preserved sheet moss to cover the florist paper. You can find this moss at local craft stores.
Venture into the garden to add greenery to the scene. Yew and boxwood clippings combine well with the tips of branches of dwarf juniper, thuga, and Japanese cryptomeria ‘nana’. Just be sure to soak all greenery in tepid water for several hours before using. This will eliminate any bugs or spiders hidden in the greenery and help condition the pieces for their stay in a heated environment. If you need color, gather small clusters of holly or nandina berries to add a punch of holiday red. Do not collect mushrooms/toadstools in the wild, so many of them are toxic. Use purchased mushrooms to keep possible poisonous plants off your table and out of your home. You can find dried mushrooms and small bits of other dried material in a commercially packaged dried potpourri mixture.
After the log has been cleaned and placed in position, the fun begins. “Plant” the cavity with moss, small rocks, and other natural materials. You can also add woodland figurines such as deer or fairies. Tuck finishing touches of greenery, rocks, lichens and other finds around the base of the log. Mist the arrangement periodically during its indoor tenure. Then sit back and enjoy a creation that is totally unique and festive. Happy Holidays!
Posted December 13, 2013
About the author: Gigi Huckabee is a freelance writer who writes gardening, wildlife, and decorating articles for regional and South Carolina state magazines.
All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.
By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
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