Architectural Resources From Mother Nature

This week’s sMARt tip is all about introducing simple architectural decor touches often found outdoors but which can easily be introduced inside as well. Let me explain: as a gardener living in Connecticut I created a four-season garden approach to my outdoor spaces, but when old man winter approaches and I retreat inside I still create unique arrangements with the resources available from my own back yard. I partnered with the very talented Deborah from terrain of Westport to create this particularly effective arrangement. I was inspired to share it with you–and what you’ll need to create something long lasting, beautiful, and maintenance-free for yourself.

Planters are not just for outdoors: My antique stone urn originated from the United Kingdom and is a perfect example of a practical way to turn any outdoor planter into an indoor design detail. Experiment with different vessels: from an upright clear vase to a vintage urn, many choices will work.

Gather a collection of branches: Interesting branches are abundant in Mother Nature, thus allowing us to capture their sculptural beauty while embracing the dormancy of the garden. Select branches with lichen, the interesting covering which looks to some like distressed or chipping paint. Lichen is a combination of two organisms, fungus, and algae. They partner as one in order to survive in places where they normally wouldn’t.  One does not need to have a garden to discover lichens as they can be found covering a wide variety of objects such as trees, rocks, patios and garden ornaments. Lichens are harmless and quite attractive on trees, adding an organic, visual element to them.  This beautiful, all natural detail invites us to discover creative ways to incorporate into our home.

Fill your selected vessel with oasis foam, which will allow you to easily secure each branch in place from the center. Backfill with various mosses, layering them for the best results.

Moss can be either natural of faux: Choices include Reindeer moss, Spanish moss, and even Cladonia rangiferina — commonly known as reindeer lichen. When combined with the base, moss represents the dormant season with just the right amount of color and texture. 

Dried grapevine can be wrapped around the base to expand the visual interest and create a further layering effect. 

Discover the many creative ways to display the beauty of a winter garden in your own home. Do it once and enjoy, as the best part is no water is ever needed.