December 2, 2012

A Birch wood Christmas

Let's think about a rustic take on Christmas, birch in particular, and all it's uses
What a prominent landscape tree, particularly in winter. It's logs, skins and overall look contribute mightily to a holiday decorating scheme
While guiding my tour group through a stunning private garden once, in the Cotswolds, England, we turned a bend and came upon a glistening spread of birch. Shockingly white I asked our hostess how the birch stand remained so white. "My maid fairies them weekly", she replied flippantly without losing stride. 
Not wanting to be visibly ignorant I just nodded. Later i discovered that 'Fairy' was a widely used dish detergent. THIS WOMAN HAD HER STAFF WASH THE BIRCH TREES WEEKLY!

I digress..........

A stand of ready to use logs fires my imagination.
Even the skins hold promise. Prior to wholesale purchasing capabilities, I would go to firewood lots and pick up the skins of birch fallen to the pavement, no one ever minded

Here we are looking down on one of my containers. The birch used is a skin, held in place with boughs inside that are penetrating the soil beneath.

In home decor.......... Can you locate the birch?

The obvious siting is the fireplace

For this post's research I found fascinating the story of burning the decorated yule log.
Traditionally the log was signed by all guests and family entertained over the holiday season. Only the whitest and smoothest was chosen. On Christmas Eve the log was burned with the family's collective sins, trespasses and negative experiences. The ashes were spread where new crops were to sprout the following spring in the spirit of reconciliation and renewal.

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

Materials used in order; birch, nandina, yew, magnolia, seeded eucalyptus and cedar

This and the following winter containers are very popular on pinterest. In case you are not a follower
(how could that be?!), feast your eyes on these gorgeous outdoor containers

Birch logs, grapevine ball, balsam, magnolia, seeded eucalyptus and long needle pine.

Source: via Anne on Pinterest

Some of my examples; Here we have two side by side extra large wooden planters. Each interior hosts two plastic pots filled with soil. The space between the two pots nicely houses an upright log

Here we followed a clients request for a rustic look with birch, cones and burlap. Two logs of differing heights are buried deeply within the soil and a strip of burlap was centered and secured with cones. Add a supporting cast of greens and faux holly berries.

Wishing all of you a lovely week of decorating, friends and family, parties & shopping!

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