Moss and National Squirrel Appreciation Day

I'm part wood nymph. I require mountains and warm, dense patches of moss to thrive.
And in a nutshell, my dears.....that would be me. Long before it became the darling of florists and Martha wannabes  everywhere, I was utterly fascinated by moss and leaf mold and woodland decay...and the tiny plantlets they succored...diminutive fern and clover and ever so delicate, fairy-sized wildflowers.

When I was but a wee thing (since we are channeling the little folk here...) , in second or third grade perhaps, (I really can't remember,) my family lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, and our family would on occasion go hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  On one such occasion (I will spare you the details...) I got lost in the woods and as evening approached, scores of rangers and volunteers were commandeered to find me before nightfall. It was turning cold, and my light jacket wasn't doing the trick. Neither were my off-trail navigational skills or my poor vision (extreme undiagnosed myopia was a problem.).

At any rate, I finally stopped, and given the cold conditions, covered myself up with leaves for whatever warmth I thought they would provide. I then put my feet in a mossy log to keep them warm...but not until after examining it for critters. (Smart little thing...though not smart enough to keep from getting lost...but I digress.)  In the process, however, I couldn't help but notice all of the succulent green moss and cute little fern growing on the outside of the downed tree. A lovely little moment of distraction to keep the boogie man (and bears) away. I remember it to this day, that little interlude. Fast forward -- I was found. The end.

Happily, I adore hiking still, and Husband and I go whenever possible, wherever possible. While I enjoy it in almost any type of geography,  my favorite trekking environment remains the cool and wooded mountain terrain of my youth.

I thought of all of this as I was making preparations for my Thanksgiving table last year, and my beloved woodlands became the theme for the tablescape. As I didn't share these images with you then, and since the tableau would be more than appropriate for a celebration of any kind this time of year, I decided to share them with you now.

I used an old shallow metal strainer, then crumpled, lightly moistened newsprint into a mounded shape to create the rounded form. I then molded chicken wire across the surface and secured the edges by tucking them over the lip of the container. 

 Moss, some of it with fledgling little ferns, was then tucked into and laid over the chicken wire. 

After heavily spritzing with water again, I nestled in small pinecones, acorns, mossy twigs, etc. for added texture and interest. Right before guests arrived, I placed the metal container into a shallow basket of the same size, and placed the entire arrangement on a wooden cake stand.

I 'mulched' two aged pots planted with Lemon Cypress topiary from Schubert Nursery (here) with a similar mossy mix for the sideboard behind the table.

Note the basket now holding the arrangement. 

I used  my favorite Thanksgiving china, Johnson Brothers Brown Devonshire, (find it here on Ebay)

and then tricked out the table with assorted little embellishments...squirrel s&p dishes, leafy placecards and matching squirrel holders for such. A few golden pinecones and acorns and pomegranates held over from previous years added a little glamour.

 In the background you can see another table set in a similar fashion in the breakfast room.

 Although Thanksgiving was months ago, I decided to blog about this centerpiece....

because yesterday was NATIONAL SQUIRREL APPRECIATION DAY, and well, it just seemed fitting. Enjoy the weekend all!

For more about my thoughts on squirrels, go here, NEMESIS OF FALL: SQUIRRELS.

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