We are back with another Afternoon Snack! Not sure what we’re talking about and waiting for someone to pass the popcorn? Well then sorry to say there is no actual food…but welcome to our new, regularly scheduled second post of the day (head here to read this morning’s post). These are meant to be a quick, fun article that can serve as a helpful afternoon pick-me-up. Now, let’s dive in…
Oh, what value being desperate can bring to your life. Historically, I have spent probably $300-$500 a month on flowers from the flower market for photoshoots. Sure, I’m likely over-spending because once I’m there I’m highly inspired by one of my favorite things in the world—FLOWERS—and need to hoard all of them. It was an expensive habit and one that was hard to break. But with both the mountain house and Portland projects, we didn’t have access to the flower market; plus we were shooting for weeks and weeks for both, so even when we did buy them, they had to be replaced often. While there is a flower market in Portland, it was far from where we were staying (and the house) and we didn’t have a license to get in. Could we have used a florist? Yes, but florists are quite expensive (understandably, they have to mark up to profit) and we didn’t have the budget for what we would have needed. So we took to the streets, well…the woods, and with the abundance of greenery in Portland we foraged and clipped.
Obviously, it was on our property or literally in the middle of the woods and we took from trees that needed the trim, perhaps doing them a favor, really. *No plants were permanently damaged in the making of these photos. I don’t need to say this but I will: don’t steal your neighbors’ branches, don’t trim in a way that disfigures the one bush in the front yard, and I’m not here saying that we should stop buying flowers and chop down our trees instead.
So let’s go through the whys and hows:
Why the branch? Not only is it free, but it’s very high impact and sculptural.
How do you choose what to clip?
- Go for one branch that has an asymmetrical shape, not a perfect line of leaves, but instead does something interesting sculptural.
- Clip much longer than you would initially think. This is something I’ve had to teach to assistants. Make sure you are getting enough stem because you can always go shorter.
- If you can’t find that one amazing branch, get two but ensure that one is shorter and that they don’t look symmetrical. You are going for a sculptural effect, not a semi-circle of leaves coming out of a vase.
- One weird big branch off to the side works as long as it’s facing the right way (like the branch below).
In Portland, there was a plethora of maple which is gorgeous since it’s sculptural and graphic but not too visually “heavy.”
For the Atlanta project, also in the suburbs, we snagged that large weed which did in fact die that night and had to be replaced the next day, but worth the extra foraging time for such a large impact for free.
The mountain house has a forest behind it full of manzanita and maples so we carefully clipped some (and hot tip: manzanita lasts for months and looks GREAT dried).
Maple branches last for at least a week, two weeks if you take care of them and keep them watered.
It doesn’t just work for the big “moments” guys. Nope. Smaller weeds or just a clipping from bushes/trees work for smaller vessels, too:
Now, a lot of these are more for shoots, we don’t keep branches in the shower for real life but you get the idea. If you have a guest coming over and want last-minute flowers but don’t want to buy carnations from Albertsons? Get your clippers and head to your backyard.
If you love branches but want the ones that actually dry the best (and therefore last for months), then let me know in the comments because there are a lot that we buy (I wish we could just forage and pick) that have literally looked almost as good months later when dried. We walked into the mountain house recently thinking we were going to need to refresh some, but nope, they looked great after 2 months. Let me know and I can write a quick post about my favorites because I LOVE A STYLING HACK. Especially ones that save me time and money.