Hello friends! How is your fall so far? I have been enjoying all of the beauty of the season, and recently I even did a bit of foraging…well, sort of! Okay, so I didn’t go hiking up into the woods (no ticks for me!) but I did cut some wild bittersweet vine that I disovered growing just mere steps from our front yard!
How could I have missed bittersweet growing so close over the past five Autumns we have lived at the yellow brick home? As you might know from reading my previous fall posts, I love decorating with bittersweet. In my experience it usually isn’t very easy to find except in some primitives and specialty decor shops, and even then it can be quite pricey.
Last year I shared two posts about bittersweet. The first one featured my French fall vignette and some other ways I used the two bundles of bittersweet I lucked into last September.
I found one bundle at a local antiques shop, and another from a primitives store in Midway, KY (about 2 hours from my home.)
I think I paid about $12 for the bundle that I tucked into my DIY Graywashed French Farmhouse Basket last year. Little did I know that FREE, abundant bittersweet was rambling wildly out of the 100+ year- old ivy-covered stone wall that lines our street!
The bush with the yellowish leaves and twiggy branches is bittersweet (here I had already cut a tote full of the good stuff!) To show you just how close the bittersweet is growing in relation to our house, I stood in our front yard to take this photo. Every fall from here on out I will only have to cross my road to clip what I need for the season. I love that I won’t have to worry about storing an excessive amount since dried bittersweet is somewhat fragile and a bit messy.
In early fall the berries are yellow, so that may be why I have missed it. They just started turning orange this week. Usually by mid-October I have already done quite a bit of my decorating, so I guess I just wasn’t thinking to look for it growing around our home in years past.
Hey friends, can you help me identify this bush?
I remember a few years ago I noticed the bush pictured above that also grows along the rock wall. I thought it might be bittersweet, but upon closer inspection I realized it wasn’t. I guess I didn’t pay attention to the actual bittersweet growing on further down the wall. This bush is very pretty but I am not sure what it is. While I might clip a few of these branches for cut arrangements, I am not interested in fooling with it too much because it has prickly thorns.
Instead of clipping the free bittersweet that I failed to notice, I ended up going “junkin” for bittersweet at the two shops mentioned above. I became so
obsessed enamoured with it that I couldn’t stop searching for ideas for fall decorating with bittersweet. This led me to share a dreamy round up post featuring bittersweet and just some gorgeous fall ideas all around.
Our neighborhood sits among a pretty, forested area that begins on the hill just across the street behind our neighbor’s property, which means I don’t have to walk very far or really even get into any brambly-tick territory when l need natural clippings.
Last week I headed across the street to look for some beautiful fall branches to fill the vintage-salvaged-tin-crown-molding-turned-planter that hangs above my potting bench. That’s when I spotted a clump of tangly vines with familiar looking orangish-red and yellow berries growing out of the rock wall.
I was so excited to find the bittersweet, especially since I wasn’t even looking for it specifically. It was perfect for spilling out of the crown molding planter!
At first I cut just enough to fill the planter to share for the Fabulous Fall Gardens Blog Hop. Then a few days later I “hiked” on back across the street with pruners and a giant tote to “forage” as much as I could (okay I took like 15 steps across the street, but I still had my jeans, green Hunter boots, long sleeves and gloves to protect from ticks and mosquitos!)
Here is the large tote of my “foraged” bittersweet! My goal was to collect enough to make a beautiful wreath for my patio and to have some extra pieces to use indoors too.
I remember seeing this amazing bittersweet wreath in the Martha Stewart Living magazine years ago and instantly falling in love. At that time I was unfamiliar with bittersweet other than the faux country-primitive sprigs, but I decided then and there that I must use real bittersweet it in my future fall decorating!
Isn’t this just pure fall perfection?
Next year I might attempt to make a huge one like Martha’s, but this year I am using this smaller bittersweet wreath as my inspiration.
Here is a sneak peek of my wreath that I started making on Friday. It is coming right along, but I still need to fill in some bare spots. I thought for sure I would be finished this weekend, but it rained and it was chilly. Unfortunately I left my tote full of bittersweet in the yard and all the vines got soaked, so I will have to let them dry out a bit before I can finish it up.
I plan to hang the wreath either on my back patio door or maybe on the vintage tobacco basket hanging on one of the patio walls, but for now it is waiting on the rusty antique garden chair by our back door. I think it looks pretty even unfinished and just resting in this spot.
I am going to have quite a bit of bittersweet vine left over after making my wreath. Some of the shorter pieces can be gathered into bundles like the one shown above. A little bundle of bitterweet would make a great gift for any fall lover!
I am also planning to use some of my excess foraged bittersweet some way in my Thankgiving tablescape this year. I love how my friend Pam of Everyday Living incorporated bittersweet in this stunning fall tablescape!
I hope this post has encouraged you to keep your eyes open for free gifts of nature that are just waiting to be discovered, as well as inspired you with ideas for fall decorating with bittersweet vine. Be sure to stop back by this week to check for a new post featuring my finished bittersweet wreath. You can also subscribe by email to receive a weekly newsletter with links to all of my latest posts, so you don’t miss all the upcoming fall and holiday fun. I would love to get to know you better!
Have you ever gone foraging for bittersweet or other fall treasures? I love hearing from you, dear readers!
Thanks for visiting today!