Winter is a time to spend a little more time cosied up on the couch, or near the fire, so it makes great sense that we create an internal space that makes our hearts and soul sing. The cooler temperatures mean that we are less social spending more time in our own homes, so it is nice to spend some of our energy doing some simple decorating. It is easy to stick your tried and tested methods of decorating, adding an indoor plant or a vase of cut fresh flowers, but winter offers up some interesting and long lasting alternatives to your regular fresh cut flowers or indoor plants.
Disiduous branches and sticks are a fantastic way of filling a vase for weeks at a time. Depending on what you choose you may or may not need to add water to the vase- and for someone like me who hates cleaning dirty vases of stinky water, this spells H-E-A-V-E-N! Some sticks, such as magnolia branches or cherry blossom for example will flower and bloom and will require a vaseful of fresh water, but believe me, the floral display is certainly worth the effort! Other branches are sold more for their architectural qualities and are striking in a vase en masse. In this case, you can choose to display them in a vessel without water. Any sticks that are displayed this way will become more brittle with time but in general, their appearance changes very little. As the branches become more brittle, it is advisable that they are not moved often, as you will see the branches breaking and becoming damaged.
So what can you get your hands on in the coming months? Well, consider these;
Budded magnolia branches are divine! The naked branches are shapely and interesting alone, but for a matter of weeks you can enjoy the pretty blooms in soft cream, mauve and pink tones. When the blooms are spent, simply pinch them off the stem, and enjoy the naked branches.
Lichen covered sticks are super interesting to look at;they look a bit moody and mysterious. The leafless branches are covered in silvery green flakes that resemble peeling paint. The branches bring a certain woodland vibe, and the natural beauty of the forest.
Dogwood is stunning throughout winter, with its reddish, golden glow. It is so different to the other sticks available with its vibrant colour, and adds visual warmth to a room or an arrangement.
Pussy willow have furry buds called catkins along the length of their stems. Before they come into full flower, they are covered in a fine, grey fur, which leads to the comparison to ‘pussies’ or small cats.
Tortured Willow is a unique tree that is also known as curly willow, twisted willow or corkscrew willows due to its wiggly stems. It is a plant native to Korea and North Eastern China that was introduced to Australia for ornamental purposes, but when left, it invades riverbanks and creeks. All species of willow are considered weeds due to their invasive nature, as they have aggressive root systems that cause damage to footpaths and drains. However as a cut material, it looks beautiful in its simplicity. Tortured willow does not require water, however if left dry, it will also become brittle, and break easily. If it is placed in water, the tortured willow will remain malleable, easily manipulated into different shapes- making it ideal for creating sculptures and wreaths. It will also quickly develop roots in water, so can be planted again.
Fruit tree Blossom are always popular, particularly cherry blossom, but there are many more fruit tree blossoms available such as peach blossom and apple blossom.
So, instead of sticking to what you know, give something different a go.