Mindful Foraging

Last week I found myself outside walking around looking for goodies to cut.  Now I live in a city, not the countryside, so it has taught me to be very mindful of what I cut, and how I cut it.  

As I was snipping away, I was also inspired to share my thoughts about the subject of foraging on my Insta Stories.  Here is a quick recap incase you missed it.

 A stunning autumn Clematis from my garden.  Photo by SKC Photography

A stunning autumn Clematis from my garden.

Photo by SKC Photography

1) Please be thoughtful and respectful of what and where you are cutting.  There is nothing worse then a beautiful wild plant that has been hacked in such an obvious way that you can tell someone has been there.  Chances are good that there is a backside to the plant that you can cut freely from and will never ever be noticed.  If, like me, you live in a city, maybe there are some branches that are hanging low into the street, do a public service and trim those, making it easier for everyone to park.

2) Don't take all the blooms, fruits or pods.  If you come across a blooming plant, and it only has 3 blooms, leave it alone.  You never know who may be enjoying those flowers and truly they are not there only for you.  If on the other hand there are many blooms, take a few, but make sure to leave some that may still be appreciated by someone else.

 Foraged crabapples, are not of my favorites!

Foraged crabapples, are not of my favorites!

3) Know what it is that you are cutting! Some plants can be poisonous if touched or accidentally ingested, if you don't know what it is, don't take it! It is not worth it!  Snap a picture and send it to your friend who knows about plants, and wait for confirmation.  The alternative is not worth it!

4) Clean and prune your treasures as you hunt.  It is so easy to forget this step, and then when you get home you have a much bigger job on your hands then intended.  You may be tempted to just put them in a bucket an "get to it later." I am here to tell you that many times later never comes, and treasure soon becomes a stinkin wasted mess!  If you just do a little prepping as you go along, it is much easier to be inspired once you get home.

 Quaking Grass anyone?

Quaking Grass anyone?

5) Bring some water.  This helps keep your findings alive and buys you a little extra time if you get home and are distracted.

6) Shoes, gloves, pants, long sleeves and a hat are a good idea.  Do I always follow this rule, umm no, but I should! Except for being a little hot at times, you will not regret it, and will be able to venture a little further then if like me you are wearing flip flops.

7) Watch out for the critters!  Ticks, spiders, bees and snakes are very real things, so pay attention. The possibility of encountering one should not inhibit you from getting out in nature, but just be on the look out.  I usually wait about 24 hours to bring my "wild flora" inside in the hopes thats any creepy crawlers will beg off and find a new home.  I think it works but don't really know for sure;)

8) Cut because you love being outside, not because you are just looking for free stuff. Cut because you are looking for those unique elements that will take your design to the next level.  When you forage you will find only what is in season now, and this will be constantly changing.  Literally each week brings a new cycle of that will in turn bring that Life Force to your designs.

 In this photo, the tiny orange berries, tree ivy, and crab apples are all "foraged" materials that enhance the other fore formal flowers.   SKC Photography

In this photo, the tiny orange berries, tree ivy, and crab apples are all "foraged" materials that enhance the other fore formal flowers.

SKC Photography