by Laura Waters, Snowdon House Gourmet & Gifts | photo by Amanda Cribdon Photography –
Long before spring blooms start, you’ll find me gathering fallen branches, clusters of emerald green moss and soft grey lichen that litter the ground from the winter storms. The benefit of having a perennial garden is that there is always something to collect or cut … every month of the year! The early branches of willow, wisteria and birch can be twisted and woven into shapes that will provide an interesting backdrop for any arrangement. Look for branches with bits of moss and lichen and nature’s imperfections! The most exciting thing about the early bouquets is the elements continually open when brought inside. Just make sure you water them heavily!
Rhodos, camellias, lavender, forsythia, azaleas, sea holly, hosta, apple branches, hellebore leaves and blooms, early clematis, rosemary, elephant ears, collections of conifers with their interesting lime green buds, and chestnut all provide interesting foliage long before the buds open. Forsythia’s flowers appear first, then the leaves. The spent seed pods of the Siberian iris add intrigue. Sometimes the first leaves of the season are quite tender and may wilt; soaking them in a sink of cold water will help them last longer before placing in an arrangement.
Look beyond the typical floral arrangements and you’ll see a bounty of possibilities to create something unique … all year round.