Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Bouquet

The holidays are almost over, and the house looks drab without the festive lights and decorations. Here's one way to keep a little of Christmas with you for awhile:

Put some cut greenery in a container--a red one is perfect, but milk glass, copper, brass, silver, pottery or even galvanized tin would look great.

Add some red foliage. I used twigs from my Burning Bush which has retained its leaves and red berries from my cottoneaster plant. Red berries would be perfect, and the multiflora rose bushes around here still have plenty of them if you're willing to take on those thorny shrubs to cut some stems. Holly, dogwood, rose hips, barberry and even bittersweet could yield acceptable berries. I'm in the eastern US, remember, so those of you in other locations may know something that grows in your area that would work.

Add a few cinnamon sticks for scent and color, and there you are.

You could also add:
  • dried orange slices, using florist wire to hold them upright in the arrangement;

  • twigs from spirea, which give a woodsy, wild feeling to a bouquet;

  • dried wild grasses

  • ivy vines

  • anything else you imagine that would be colorful.

I've made several of these arrangements to scatter around the house. With a few lighted candles (not too close!) the essence of the holidays can still be had, and at little or no cost. Typically a bouquet will last at least two weeks and occasionally longer, depending on the heat and humidity in your house (and you remembering to add water as needed).

You could also make it a symbolic bouquet but looking up the meanings of the plants you use. For example, in the Celtic folklore, the fir tree symbolizes honesty, progress, longevity, resilience, friendship, remembrance and perceptiveness. Holly means action, assertion, and objectivity. Look up the symbolism of your plants online--I found several sites that offer this information, including:

What's Your Sign? offers Celtic symbolism of plants.

Cooktown Life lists symbols frequently found on gravestones, but there are many plants listed (scroll down to "Plant"). Okay, this bouquet is supposed to cheer you up, so don't linger too long in Cooktown!

Plant Meanings or Symbols for many plants are listed on this website.

If you prefer to find your information in books, you must find a copy of The Language of Flowers by FWL ( no name for the author is listed and was apparently to be kept a secret). This little book is just beautiful, with color illustrations and careful hand lettering. It includes trees as well as flowering plants.

Making your bouquet can while away a good bit of time on a cold winter day as you collect your plant material, find a container, and look up the folklore connected with your arrangement. What better way to spend a cold January day?


Janet, said...

How pretty and imaginative, Susanne. But it's too cold to go out and collect the branches. I guess I'm just going to have to put on some gloves and brave the weather.

Marie said...

I love the boquets. The cinnamon sticks make them totally original. You are very creative.

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