During a recent rare break in the fast and furious action that is life at Fairegarden, there was some introspective pondering.
An online social media type conversation with friend Helen of Gardening With Confidence brought to the frontal lobes the memory of a collection resting comfortably in the shed. The shed is a repository of odds and ends including garden tools, drying seed heads, pots, stakes and ephemera of nature, twig and vine wreaths, bits of moss and some collections in coffee cans. There has been housecleaning in the shed nearly every year, with much stuff going into the recycle or compost bin. The can labeled tree fungus has always escaped the heave ho, even being moved twice with all of our earthly goods from Tennessee to Texas and back to Tennessee before landing permanently in the shed. This canister was brought down the slope and into the warm house, contents dumped rudely but delicately onto the rug by the sliders in the sunny addition.
The colors have been preserved inside the dark metal can. The collection had been allowed to dry out thoroughly before being stored inside. There were craft uses involving a hot glue gun of which the fungus made a fantastical decorative material.
Over the years, decades, there has been a gradual change in home furnishing taste preferences. From Country Blue in the 1970s and 80s, to more fashionable neutrals in the mid 90s to our Black Phase as the new millenium began, the switch from man made to nature made accompanied the color wheel spinning. Fancy framed paintings have given way to wreaths of roots and bird nests. Dried unpainted gourds have taken the place of fine china vases. Feathers and dried grasses are the floral arrangements. Beguiling rocks and collected sea shells adorn tabletops. Bits of bark, pinecones, well, you get the idea, are what seem most beautiful. The magic always was there for me in the artistry of nature, it now takes center stage as the accumulation of a lifetime is sifted and sorted to keep only the best and most revered. It is the productions of nature that are held most dear in my heart now.
Oh, and the thing that was being sought in the shed, triggered with the mention by Helen of her collection of same was my grandmother’s collection of flower frogs. Not frogs made in the form of flowers, but little gadgets to hold the stems of cut flowers aright in vases.