Bringing in the Greens

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 will brighten the greens I put in the windowboxes.

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.

First I laid balsam and pine on the mantle.

Then I added lights and put the clock and plants back.

And finally candles, pine cones, winterberry and little deer and bears.
You can see the animals better here:




These two reindeer are in the little cubby in the fireplace.

I just love them.

I did a bit more decorating in the living room.

The cupboard in the corner.

The table.

The table by the window.

The table and rocker by the fire.

My mother made this Christmas bunny for me many years ago. She passed in 2000 so it is nice to bring this out every year and think of her.

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!

About patti

I am a retired kindergarten teacher, tending a new kind of garden now, raising chickens and exploring permaculture. I live with my husband, Bill, my beloved dog, Fergus and my cat, Mighty Merlin. We have a small cottage and a tiny bit of land called Brookwood Shire. It is our sanctuary.
This entry was posted in Darkness and Light, Nature, Seasons, Winter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Bringing in the Greens

  1. rose says:

    I can imagine it smells wonderful too! What a nice tradition.

  2. wspines says:

    Your house looks so festive. My winterberry bushes didn’t produce any berries this year, my holly hasn’t gotten any berries on it either. How is the stove?

    • pattigail says:

      It is a terrible year for winterberry. They like it wet. I have a few bushes that I watered and they have berries, but they are young and still pretty small. The stove is great. We had to break it in with little fires…to certain temperature and then let it go out and cool off and then do it again. But that is done now so we can just use it. Toasty warm!

  3. Looking festive in the shire..

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