Friday Flea Market ~ A Give-Away & Natures's Bounty
What's better than cheap stuff? Free stuff that's what! When I saw Penny's pretty decorated mantle with fresh holly it inspired me to take a walk in the woods today for a photo session. Just when we begin to despair about the oncoming chill and austereness of winter we can give thanks for the evergreens and bright orbs of berries that take over summer's blooms. Which leads me back to my second sentence....free stuff! On today's Friday Flea Market I am not selling anything but giving away something. Just leave me a comment and I will randomly choose a winner and ship a box of fresh Christmas greenery (with bug bites and all) and holly off to you straight away. I will draw a name on Tuesday the 9th of December. I am so sorry but this time I have to keep this little "give away" to bloggers in the U.S. To those of you who are so lucky to have these things available to you, this may not seem like much but to those of you that have to buy it, I hope you will enjoy this giveaway. Now let's see what I found on my walk today. I was pretty excited because I found two volunteer plants that I just whooped with joy (much to Ben's dismay) when I saw them. (By the way...(see post below)..my car did not get out of the mud until Wednesday...it had to be towed out. :)
This was the first volunteer I found..... a magnolia tree. I absolutely adore magnolia trees and their fabulous large green leaves with a soft velvety backside. It was growing on the hillside on the edge of the woods next to the lake. I may try to replant it as it's not exactly in a great place but then again if Mother nature put it there and it's doing well maybe that's exactly where it should be.
And this is the other volunteer I found. This too was on the edge of the woods but on the other side of the property. Now I have two nursery stock Nandina bushes that I have never gotten any red berries from to use at Christmas. By Christmas the birds have eaten most all the berries. Yet this volunteer Nandina is loaded with the most gorgeous red berries and the leaves are much healthier looking than my nursery ones. Go figure.....but I love it. I called Bobby G. at the office to tell him all about the discovery and he said "what's a nandina"? For some reason he didn't share my unbridled excitement. pffft!
Nature provides us with all kinds of interesting flora for decorating with at Christmas. There's all kinds of pods and weeds we can pick. These fine specimens are milkweed pods. They are very pretty sprayed gold or silver and put in an ever green arrangement.
Another fun plant to pick and use is curly willow. Bobby G. gave this to me as a surprise three years ago and we planted it in the back on the edge of the lake. It likes it there and this year it has gotten big enough that I can pick some of the branches. Sprayed white or silver or leave plain, they add interesting texture to an evergreen arrangement or put branches of it in your Christmas tree.
The Oregon Grape Holly is another plant in our landscape I love. When we moved to this home there was one plant out back next to the pool shed and thanks to nature and the birds there are now at least ten of them growing in the woods. They really change with each season and at Christmas time are pretty in arrangements because of their large scale holly like leaves. It is said that Oregon Grape Holly is probably the best garden plant that Lewis and Clark brought back to the United States when they made their trip into the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. (didn't know you were going to get a history lesson did ya.?)
Have you even seen a more perfect shaped evergreen tree? A perfect Christmas tree I say if you had a gigantic foyer with a three story cathedral ceiling. When I was a little girl we always went out to the country to the woods and cut down a cedar tree. They smelled wonderful but with their soft branches they weren't very good to hang heavy ornaments on. Then when we moved into this home, I was tickled pink that there were cedar trees everywhere. Our first Christmas we went out and cut down what looked like the "perfect" shaped tree only to discover that the bottom of it was actually two trunks.....soooo consequently we ended up wiring it together. Having forgotten how soft the branches were from childhood I quickly discovered that half my ornaments would not work on the tree but I decorated it anyway with what would work. We watered it diligently everyday but by Christmas day all you had to do was walk by the tree and you could hear the falling of dried cedar. The day after Christmas we took it down and by the time we had dragged it to the front door there was not a piece of green left on that tree. I thought I would never get my floors and rugs cleaned. Hence, the next year is when I bought my first artificial tree and never looked back.
Now I just use the cut branches of the cedars in fresh arrangements and enjoy the smell of Christmas that way. These cedars are called Red Cedars which I think is strange because every other year they produce an abundance of blue berries. Pat over at Backporch Musings decorated her dining room in blue for Christmas this year. The blue berried cedar branches would have fit beautifully in that room.
Of course the reason for this walk was to find holly and holly I did find. And it's full of red berries this year which is not always the case. I wonder if that means it's going to be a long cold winter?
And let's not forget the humble pinecones which can be a staple at Christmas time. Left plain or sprayed gold and silver for your arrangements or coat with peanut butter and birdseed and hang outside for our feathered friends. I guarantee they'll be a hit!
And finally one last startling surprise I found today. We have an old, old wild cherry tree in the side yard. One of the branches had split and was hanging down and as I was pulling on it, trying to pull it down, I peered way up in the tree and guess what I saw? Mistletoe!! Again thanks to Mother Nature and the birds. But why is it always in the very tip top of the trees? Can you see it?
Hope you enjoyed our little walk today. It was cloudy and near 60 degrees today. As Ben and I walked I noticed it was very, very still.......no wind, no birds talking, no outside noises. It actually kind of spooked me a bit. The only sound was me as I walked through the fallen leaves. I would love to send someone a box of fresh greens so don't forget to leave a comment. See you for Pink Saturday.