I have been gathering greens for the last few days. I do this every year. I go out into the woods and cut pine boughs, balsam, spruce and some hemlock. Princess pine carpets the woodland floor and I get some of that as well. Generally I go into swampy areas for winterberry branches but this year, because it was such a dry spring and summer, there were no winterberries. Not one. I checked all the places I usually find it…..nothing. This is the first time, in the twenty five plus years that I have been doing this that that has ever happened. There have been years when the berries were sparse…but there were always a few. Anyone who is paying attention knows that the climate is definitely changing. It is quite unsettling. I even checked garden centers to see if they had any but they did not. I was about to give up when I remembered a local florist who often has it. I checked with him and he had some. Not much and it wasn’t very good, but he had gone out early and gotten what he could find. So I was able to get some winterberry.
It looks like a lot of greens but I will probably need more. I do like to make things festive at this time of year. This is an ancient custom that predates Christianity by many years. It doesn’t really have anything to do with Christmas…though it has become part of that tradition. But in the Northern Hemisphere days are short, dark comes early, and it is cold. And but for the evergreens, trees are lifeless. So people would bring the green inside as a reminder that life would come again. And I continue that tradition. It just feels like the right thing to do.
So today I began. I started with the mantle above the fireplace.
I did a bit more decorating in the living room.
Tomorrow I will do the kitchen and the room the wood stove is in. It is supposed to be warmer on Tuesday so I will do the windowboxes and outside pots then. What fun!