This continued on when the girls were little we had a fireplace and we would gather our pinecones and sticks for fire lighters and figs from a nearby tree, apples from a road side tree we knew about. Some days of gathering were so epic we would take a picnic and thermo to make a day of it. Beautiful days. The following days were spent cooking apples or whatever had been the result of all that gathering.
Nana B was a gatherer master. She was a florist and I doubt she ever paid for a flower. Yet she won more ribbons at every show including the Royal Adelaide, more than I could count. She also appeared in books with her floral work. Her home was always full of flowers, huge displays like you would find in a church or now, modern hotel foyer. Massive! It was all gathered. Even the flowers for weddings were gathered. She would march up someones driveway and ask if they would mind if she picked some of whatever it was she had spotted. She was so happy and charming, she made friends this way.
So I grew up knowing I always wanted my home full of flowers and I wanted giant impressive arrangements. One trip to a florist reveals you don't get much for $100! So a huge urn of flowers a meter high must be thousands? Nan would laugh about that.
There are so many things you can collect and dry or enjoy fresh. Plenty of greenery sets off your flowers and helps you gain an impressive size. Taking a leaf out of Nan's
If you have neighbours with hydrangeas chances are they prune them and all the drying flowers go into the bin! Just ask as there are so many things you can do with them. The bulk of my big arrangement is something I picked that a neighbour was pruning and I asked if I could have... and I took on the task. They are giant spirals of white flowers that dried perfectly and I filled in gaps with silk flowers. I keep adding to this...
Placed in front of my side of the road mirror they look even bigger. I saw a bunch of sticks (yes sticks) at our local florist and I had to check out the price. It was $60 for a bunch of sticks. Yep.
I'm no flower arranger or anything but gradually I have achieved my aim of big arrangements!
When we go to the farm I have the chance to gather bay leaves from Mum's tree, bunches of rosemary, pinecones for Christmas crafts, native flowers and sticks....
I gather enough bay leaves for our kitchen and bunches for my cook friends who love this.
I'm always on the look out. In the supermarket I see people buy rosemary when the whole suburb is surrounded in it! Many of our family or friends will have herbs and flowers we can use. I've never actually met anyone who has said no to picking some of anything.
The most exciting days are when I come home with a bucket of lemons or figs... I know a house where there is a fig tree. Oh my goodness figs are almost a dollar each at times in the city. Here is a tree covered in them. The million dollar tree!
Jamie Olivers "Save with Jamie" series and book has a great section in gathering and preserving herbs. You can freeze, dry, infuse into oils... all kinds of things to make a bunch of anything into something to keep you going for ages.
Pinecones, interesting pods and berries and all kinds of things have come home with us from our little driving holidays. I keep a basket in the car and scissors at all times!
When I moved from the country to the city I wondered if my gathering days would be less... but no. Maybe even better. But I have the best of both worlds and I'm lucky with that.
My motto is the do what I can with what I have where I am. We have to make the most of what comes our way. If figs come your way, or apples or tomatoes... what ever it is you can turn it into a great asset. Busy as a bee using up the things you have gathered is pure happiness!
Today it is Kath's Birthday. We had a circus as I thought it was today and I rang the nursing home and they wouldn't confirm or deny... so I had to get Kath on the phone (yesterday)... which was another circus! But in the end she was so thrilled to get a phone call and yes today is her Birthday. Andy has gone in with flowers, pink biscuits, a present, a handmade card. I have just had a message from him about the excited reception he got and how thrilled she was! And Wilma had requested fruit so I made her up a bag lined with pink tissue paper of pears, apples and bananas (there are the favourites) and she was thrilled too. It has made Andy's day from the sounds of it.
And it's Friday. I must get on and do the last things on my list so we have a relaxing night. I had a wonderful week! We had glorious weather and many blessings, my head is spinning!
We are ordering the basics for the kitchen Andy is making me. I am so excited about this!
Have a lovely weekend! xxx