Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I made the wreath from fresh greens from New Hampshire (see blog post just below) and now want to add more natural decorations. I raid my stash, buried in a large plastic box in my NYC closet: okra pods and Devil's claw pods (aka cow catcher pods, unicorn plant pods) I grew on my flower and herb farm, still perfect after 15years; locust tree pods found on the streets of Manhattan; stiff neck garlic stems from Jen's NH garden, sorghum seed heads grown on my rooftop in NYC, one stray lotus pod and a dried papaya slice from god-knows-where; a couple of pine cones.
Materials which are completely dry will last for years, can be removed and saved as you would glass tree ornaments.
I tuck many of these elements among the green branches of the wreath as it lays on the table, along with a few small mandarin oranges from the market that add a zap of color. Notice a new candle in the center, lower and more subtle. Will I impress my book group coming for supper tonight to discuss Lowland?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Greens and lichen from the woods of New Hampshire, schlepped to New York City after a Thanksgiving visit to Jen & Mark Hopkins in Canterbury. Jen and I cut arbivitae, pine, spruce, fir and princess pine from her back forty. I wrap short cuttings onto a sturdy 12" frame with thin wire, aiming for a wild look.
Back in my Manhattan living room, I invert a low green bowl on my glass coffee table
 and lay the wreath over the bowl. Don't tell me how uneven it is. I like it that way.
After placement, I insert a few loose cones, lichen and pieces of thin birch bark among the greens.
Sure you can add a big fat candle to the center, keeping it well away from the greens, but next week I'll show you my favorite design. 

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