Every year around this time, we love bringing nature into our homes to make things feel seasonal and bright on the longest nights, whatever holidays we do or don’t celebrate. While you can of course buy wintery décor at local stores and nurseries, we prefer to source as much as possible from our own backyards. Especially this year, with wandering in nature still preferable to being in stores, we thought we’d share some of our favorite winter foraging ideas with you!
There are so many fascinating options for floral arrangements, table settings, and wreaths that may be present in your own yard. Broad-leaf evergreens, berries, and pods are often forgotten in favor of the more obvious pine branches. Some of our favorite leaves include Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora, top left in the image above,) Laurel (Laurus nobilis,) Myrtle (Myrtus communis,) Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica) and the many varieties of Eucalyptus. All of these plants stay green for a long time when cut and hold up well as they dry, and most also have resins that offer a gorgeous wintery scent to fill your home. When designing anything from a garden to a bouquet, texture is a must! So the combination of large, sculptural leaves like those of Laurel or Magnolia, combined with the dainty leaves of Myrtle or the needles of Cedar or Pine, make for an exquisite combination.
One of the perks of harvesting natural materials is the opportunity to think outside the box. Driftwood, shells, and unique beach finds can combine with lichen, mosses, and even wild mistletoe from the forest for a truly California take on winter. If you are searching for material in the wild, keep in mind that taking living things, such as lichen, from their natural environments should be done in moderation. We prefer to borrow these beauties ourselves – bringing them into our homes for the season and then returning them where we found them.
For those who crave that splash of red in winter arrangements, berries from the landscape can turn a simple evergreen arrangement into holiday extravagant. Cotoneaster berries, like these shown above, hold up great in wreaths and table arrangements.
Pods & Flowers
Pods are often everywhere in the winter landscape, and their structure and contrast make for a great addition to any winter design. Milkweed pods have both a beautiful shape and iridescence going for them. We also love Eucalyptus pods, with their natural star-shaped centers and dried pomegranates. Pods can also be painted or gold-leafed for an extra-special touch. Combined with simple flowers and greenery, you can’t go wrong! (This Chanukah table arrangement above pairs flame-shaped Milkweed pods (Asclepias tuberosa) with Juniper berries and store-bought Baby’s Breath. Simplicity at its best!)
When placing winter décor, keep in mind that location is everything. Just as we add focal points to the landscape, we like to focus on the most important spots in the house when decorating with natural elements. Lately we are super impressed with the trending hanging floral installations, and have been working our decorations in above our heads. To get totally swept away in the world of great floral ideas, scope out this blog. Project time!
J.Montgomery Designs would like to wish all of our readers a Happy Winter, Happy Holiday Season, and Happy New Year! Thank you for a wonderful design season despite all we’ve all been faced with this year. We’ll see you in 2021.