The temperatures upstate dipped below 10 degrees this week, so I’m ready for a weekend full of warm and cozy everything. I’ve been dragging in wood for the fire and bringing down all the wool blankets so we can rest up and stay warm. I’ve got a boatload of work to finish before our holiday break, but before I dive back into to-do lists for the next few hours, I’m letting myself soak in the beauty that is this amazing winter floral arrangement (with mushrooms!) that Anna from Swallows & Damsons created for us. If you want a creative way to dress up your mantel, entryway or dining table, check out the full how-to after the jump! Until Monday, have a safe and restful weekend! xo, grace
Photos by India Hobson
There are such a lot of things that have no place in summer and autumn and spring. Everything that’s a little shy and a little rum. Some kinds of night animals and people that don’t fit in with others and that nobody really believes in. They keep out of the way all the year. And then when everything’s quiet and white and the nights are long and most people are asleep—then they appear.-Tove Jansson, Moominland Midwinter
Magical winter, when the land is bare and toes are frozen. When outings outdoors are brief and purposeful and the air smells of pine, cinnamon and spice. My imagination thrives when my resources are limited. The last rose stubbornly holding on in the garden, uncovering lichen branches from under a hard frost or unexpected berries fruiting when all else is bare. I feel more grateful for each humble branch, expanding my repertoire to include anything that’s on offer, moss, feathers, fungi and dead bracken.
A winter garden arrangement is to play with these gatherings, a tiny frozen world where mini beasts or mythical creatures might dwell. When I was a child my Mother used to give me a tray covered in icing sugar and I’d use my miniature farm houses, animals, sticks and leaves to create a magical snowy wonderland. I’m reinventing it for Christmas this year in floral form, hoping to keep the mystery and imagination alive. —Anna of Swallows & Damsons
Photos by India Hobson
Step 1. Choose a shallow dish or trough. I opted for a long concrete planter that would fit nicely down the center of a table. Place a sausage of scrunched chicken wire cut to size in the vessel and secure with strong tape. Fill your container with water.
Step 2. Cover most of the chicken wire with moss, using wires bent into hair pins and poke into the moss to secure.
Step 3. Greening up. Start adding the tallest branches/stems of foliage in a line down the center of the mossed base. Stagger the heights as you might expect to find growing naturally outside. Bring in slightly shorter stems at each end and a few towards the front.
Step 4. Choose a delicate flower to follow the lines you have already created with the foliage. I began by using hellebores to weave in between the branches making sure that each stem is poked right through the moss so that it reaches the water in the container.
Step 5. Before the arrangement was landed with the more extroverted flowers, I added the Fungi to the base of the arrangement. I simply used a sturdy wire pushed slightly into the mushroom and then poked into the moss.
Step 6. At this stage it should be clear where any gaps are, so I used the bigger headed statement flowers to fill in space. I staggered the roses in one area and then placed slipper orchids on the other side to balance them out. I find it more effective to group the flowers like this, rather than spreading them evenly throughout the arrangement.
Step 7. Lastly I balanced colors and shapes by adding smaller headed flowers and succulents. More hellebores, ranunculus and astrantia are dotted throughout the arrangement. I wired a tiny succulent in the same way as the mushrooms and added this also to the moss base.
And so I created a tiny seasonal garden with the most curious flowers and fungi that winter has to offer. Whose leaves and stems are “a little shy and a little rum,” so much so that I think I might just hide here amongst them until Christmas.