Updated: Dec 30, 2022
This morning my wife and I decided to have friends, including our new neighbors, over for an impromptu dinner and it is a low budget week. Our new home is still a mud hole as we wait to start sodding the lawn. Last week on my run I noticed very interesting grasses, maple trees and flowers coming up volunteer in the ditch in front of the house.
All the weeds planted an idea in my head, pardon the pun, along with an interesting display I'd seen months earlier in Atlanta of Poke Salad (Phytolacca americana) in a clear vase. Poke Salad! That was the stuff that my grandfather ate during the depression and came up all over the pasture when I was a kid. I'd never thought of it that way but it was beautiful with its red veins and berries.
Just to make sure the new neighbors know I'm eccentric, that is what we call functionally crazy in the South, I decided to make an arrangement from the weeds in the front of the house. Here I go, early morning, flip flops and shorts, into the ditch armed with my trusty pruners.
Interestingly, my Bible verses for this morning were from Mathew 6: 28 Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Just because you don't have a garden filled with flowers or don't have access to a floral supply due to budget or proximity, your home can still be filled with the outdoors. The outdoors is my constant joy. Bringing plants into the home from the native landscape is also a great way to teach your kids about nature and the plant kingdom. Dudes, do this and your wives will be more in love with you each day!
Want a weed arrangement?
Here is how you build it.
Take a Walk
First, take a walk around your community, this may be your block, backyard, abandoned lot, woods or pasture by your home.
Find Some Material
Second, identify at least three types of different plants with varying growth habits, for example, spiky, tall, short, spreading, glossy, textured, etc. Think about using plants with varying height and shape and textures. Be sure not to get shot by a cranky neighbor, so ask permission before you cut on land that does not belong to you. I love the roadside and I think that is fair game.
Cut and Collect
Third, cut some vegetation. Always collect in the cool of the morning as plants are filled with water and not stressed from the heat of the day. Also, hopefully you won't be a sweaty mess too. Because you are collecting from the wild, look for vegetation without insect damage or with spots that you can prune away.
Place your cuttings in cool water immediately and allow them to sit while you prep your container.
Select your container, which can really be anything. For mine I used a large urn as the arrangement was going in a more formal setting. I did not want to fill the urn with water as it could have leaked and damaged the vessel and my table. Find a plastic or glass container that will fit inside your more attractive vessel.
For this arrangement I used floral tape to form a grid. This is a great technique that can be used in almost any application to form a scaffold to hold cuttings.
Remember the rule of three. Group flowers and plants together in groups of three and repeat grouping three times. I start with the center first and build my way out. In this case I started with the maple and used it as a sieve or plant ring in which to insert my grasses and flowers into spaces that were formed. Recut each stem at a 45 degree angle which provides more surface area and does not allow the stems to sit flat on the container bottom.
Remember to work in the round, walking around or turning the arrangement to make sure it is balanced and symmetrical on all sides unless you are placing it against a wall.
Then, put the piece in place and enjoy!
Using, tree branches or any plant you find along the path is a great way to always have a bit of nature and the current season inside your home. Don't feel like things have to be this elaborate. Just this morning I cut a branch off a tree and placed in a small vase for my wife and kids to find in the hall bath.
Keep it simple and don't stress ever!