Harvesting Holly

The week before last, we harvested holly and hydrangeas to make Advent wreaths with the congregation worshipping in the spirit of St. Philip’s in Germanton. Our meeting was the day before the building crossed Buffalo Creek and headed east towards Chapel Hill. The wreaths were our first crafty project, which has great appeal to me.

Harvesting Holly

The trees on the south side of our house are in desperate need of pruning or just cutting down. So I gathered three large branches of holly and some Leland Cyprus, which I hope won’t see the spring of 2013.

Harvesting Holly

Catherine suggested that the gold from the hydrangeas could represent Jesus, so I gathered several blooms in this Rite Aid basket someone left at the foot of my driveway. Not sure why they no longer needed the basket, but I found it quite handy for gathering my harvest.

Catherine also spent some time gathering boxwoods from the massive seven boxwoods removed in preparation of St. Philip’s trek. She was interviewed by Chad Tucker on Fox 8 News while she gathered the foliage. I joined her and Linda as we finished up our collection. The boxwoods were so enormous that you could not decipher from where the limbs were taken. They were easily the size of a stretch Hummer on the edge of the lot, awaiting with uncertainty of their fate. Fortunately the boxwoods were saved and moved to the Watts Farm nearby.

Harvesting Holly

This is the near end result of my advent wreath. I am planning to write up a how-to on the Save St. Philip’s site sometime very soon. (Before the end of Advent!)

Harvesting Holly

I brought home the leftover boxwood and holly and stored it in our guest bathroom. I was instantly happy that we had a guest bath for precisely this occasion. And it reminded me of the Anthropologie catalog from the spring of 2011 that had the trees inside. I was so desperately craving nature that I collected bark and made little pieces of art work based on them.

Harvesting Holly

Once we returned from Florida, I decorated our mantel with the remaining boxwood from St. Philip’s. it is just in water. I regret that it will not keep over time, but I did not manage to preserve my own batch.

The vases were my Grandma Merritt’s. They really feel like they match the time period of our house. Granted I have not confirmed this hunch. I always thought they were beautiful and feel fortunate that I received them when her items were divided up.

The nests were three that I collected in our yard while cleaning up with Martina. The center nest has three beautiful blue eggs in them. I have had the nests on my mantel for a while now. I love how the interwoven packaging tape adds unexpected light.

I bought three strands of faceted peridot beads while searching for Advent candle holders for my wreath. (I was unsuccessful in my quest.) But I love the delicate sparkle of the beads and how the colors tie in with the greenery, my fireplace and other space. When I just looked into the meaning of peridot, I found that it was on target for my needs to heal from our grueling battle over the church:

“Peridot fosters emotional balance, and helps us heal from past emotional wounds. It clears the path way to the heart and heals damaged egos. … Peridot helps us move past the hurt, and understand our relationships.”

Do I feel better than I did last week before adding the stones? Maybe. I hadn’t considered it until now. But I have had some pretty exhausting nightmares in the past week. But I think they are from my pregnancy.

Harvesting Holly

I almost abandoned the massive holly limbs in Germanton, but I brought them back specifically for my flower box outside my studio window. This is the first thing I have placed in the window. I bought a narrow bucket and added a couple of bricks of Oasis. Then I just added the insanely long branches of holly. I think that it is delightful and a little free-form.

I must admit I felt so proud of my holly bounty after I cut the three limbs. I really did nothing more than buy the house and cut the branches. But it made me think how great it must feel to be a farmer when you are gathering your crops! Maybe the plethora of red berries made it feel more bountiful. Be forewarned: if my tree is any indication of this winter’s weather, you will need your snow boots this winter.

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