A Free Christmas Gift From Mother Nature

By: Suie Roberts

Go out for a walk, maybe with your dog or a friend. Go to a park, field or overgrown area, these are the places that you will find lots of dried vegetation. I say vegetation because weed means unwanted plant, and although you are collecting what other people deem as weeds, you in fact want them.

Take a bag with you and a pair of scissors. Some stalks may be too tough to break with just your fingers. You may need gloves too in case some plants have thorns or spikes. Under no circumstances should you pick plants from other peoples gardens, unless you have asked for permission to do so.

You may find grasses of different types. Some with heads like mini fox's tails others may look more like trees.

Look out for unusual seedpods on the plants, you may be lucky enough to find a poppy seed head or a thistle. Pinecones are treasures, use craft wire or glue to attach the cone to a wood kabab skewer and then use as another specimen to add to your collection.

Sometimes flowering plants dry out and leave a structure which, once supported, flowers. These stems can look very dramatic in a dried flower arrangement.

When you get home stand all your stems in a vase. Seeds will probably drop out along it the odd bug. You may want to return these later.

Give some of your findings that frosty Christmas feel by spray painting them silver. Read the back of the tin before you begin and follow the directions for using spray paints. Don't paint all of your stems remember less is more.

Add a splash of colour to the bouquet by introducing Christmas baubles or ribbons. Glue or wire a bauble to a kebab skewer and add to the display.

To make a bow, take a length of wide ribbon and fold it back and forth a couple of times. Scrunch up one end and secure it with wire. Stick the ribbon onto a kabab stick.

To present this gift of nature as a gift, arrange the dried and painted flowers in a vase or form a bouquet secured in place with an elastic band and tie a large ribbon in a bow around the stems covering the elastic band.

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