09 November 2015

Gathering Materials and Ideas

There are a lot of reeds along the waters' edges that won't be woven into chair seats or baskets. Have you ever seen anyone harvesting reeds? Picking cattails, yes, I've seen people doing that, but not reeds. I walk in the woods with the feeling...There's so much stuff here! The same is true when I see a bunch of reeds. I decide to search the web to learn more about reed harvesting, preparation and use. I found a lovely website Wicker Woman dot com. What I call reeds are actually cattail leaves.
I few years ago I collected weeping willow twigs. After soaking and washing them, I learned they smell. Yes, smell as in moldy damp rotting odor when they don't dry out fast enough, and, sometimes when they do. Scrap that idea. I'll be collecting maple, black locust, and/or ironwood twigs this year.

November is making decorations time for the holidays once a theme is chosen. Go with the old, try something new or make do are the questions every year. Making do usually wins. Last year the theme was pine, and will be again this year. I use man-made greenery and berries with nature made pine cones and branches.

Do you gather natural materials for holiday decorations?
Have any tips to share?


  1. It makes me so happy to SEE cattails these days! Non-native species of Phragmites have pushed them - and our native Phragmites - right out of their habitat in so many places, before my eyes, within my lifetime.

  2. Hi Quinn,
    Thank you for the information!
    I've seen those big wavy feather topped plants around here. There's a mass of them along a Route 7 section, a swampy on one side of the road, and field on the other. There are still some cattails in the area, but not many. I believe the swampy area has an outlet draining into Otter Creek, that drains into Lake Champlain.

  3. Maywyn I have never gathered cattails before. There are many things I do collect though. A basket of pinecones at Christmas is very nice.

    1. Hi Debbie,
      You have a lovely place to collect and gather. I look forward to seeing your holiday decorations.

      Cattails aren't on my list to gather this year, but if I can get near a few leaves, then I'll try them out for crafts. I won't be collecting any from where the photo though. That's a swampy area, and I don't know who owns the place. I prefer to collect and gather on property where I know the person.

  4. We have a wet area right out our back door almost. I actually transplanted cattails there quite a few years ago. I had a time keeping the purple loosestrife out. The cattails have grown slowly and look beautiful. The redwing blackbirds love to nest in that area. The cattail roots are edible, I've read. So is the pollen in June. I have eaten it-it's good. The spent cattails are fun to play with-to break off and let the seed fly.

    1. Hello Debra,
      Your yard sounds beautiful, and is from the photos you've posted. Its good to know they taste Good. They could be the new food fad. Before you know it, cattail recipes will be all over the Internet. :)

      I read the cattail puffs use to be were used for pillow filling. One year my mother left what she gathered in the back room, and forgot about them. When she returned, they burst puffy stuff all over the place! I guess you have to seal them somehow for them to stay closed.


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