Twigs & Memories
I’ve had this arrangement, in various forms, in my house for a number of years. It’s just a bundle of curly willow twigs that I grabbed from my friend Keri’s garden some years back. She had a big pile of prunings of it, and was quite bemused when I ferreted through her pile and took a bunch home in my car.
I love twisty branches and interesting natural shapes. I guess it’s in my blood, because my grandfather used to collect interestingly-shaped driftwood and mount them on pieces of slate. I still have several pieces of his, and I love them. He used to drill a hole in them and my grandmother would put in a plastic flower. I didn’t like plastic flowers, so I tossed them.
Anyway for some years I just kept them in a vase in the entry hall of my old house. And one year someone came to the door selling poppies for Remembrance Day (11th November) and I bought a poppy in memory of my dad. And then I bought another two in memory of two of my uncles, who were his good buddies and in his unit. They later married his sisters and became my uncles.
And because I wasn’t going anywhere to wear these poppies, I on a whim, twisted their wires onto the curly willow twigs. And I liked the effect. Guess Nana’s plastic flowers had left their influence. <g>
Since then, every time I’ve come across someone selling Remembrance Day poppies, I’ve bought a few more and added them to my twigs. When I look at it I think of my dad, and my various uncles.
The poppies are slightly different every year — one year they had a brooch attachment on them — but I just twist them on with florist’s wire. And I weigh the vase down with river stones and glass marbles, because the twigs are quite long for such a small vase and it can easily overbalance. But I like the vase being small and black —it suits the arrangement I think.
For years nobody commented on my twigs and poppy arrangement. Now I’m in my new home, and the arrangement is in the living-room instead of the entry hall, and several people have commented on it.
One person said, “Oh I like your japonica arrangement,” (Japonica is also called flowering quince). I love it when it flowers in early spring, with pretty blossoms on bare, elegant branches. Another friend, who I sent some photos of my new house said “OMG I love those flowers under the picture — what are they?” And when I explained, she asked me to grab some curly willow twigs next time I visited Keri and she’d put Remembrance Day poppies on them for her dad.