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Craft of the Month: Native Centerpieces

A couple weeks ago, Camp Stevens designed and facilitated the making of 70 native plant centerpieces for the Diocese of San Diego’s Annual Convention.  It was a hit!  Here’s an approach to making one (not 70) for your home table:

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1. Go for a walk.  That’s right!  Step one of native anything is paying attention to what’s outside in your own backyard.  If you have a child in your life, take them along: children are especially good at noticing things and helping us to slow down and … well, smell the roses.  Notice the plants, the colors, the textures, the smells, the temperature, and anything else that strikes you.  Look past the usual flowers and see what else is out there.

manzanita

2. If you’re inspired to, find a copy of a local native plant book at your library or bookstore.  In San Diego County, we like this one by James Lightner.  If not, know that naming things doesn’t really matter.  Rachel Carson once wrote: It’s not half so important to know as to feel.
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3. Find a container: ideally something reused or reusable.  Mason jars, an old watering can, a de-labeled peanut butter jar, your favorite food tray, or pottery are all great choices.

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4. Find your favorite pair of heavy duty scissors or gardening shears and a bucket and head back outside!  Think outside the box, remember what you noticed in step one, and start creating.  Cut more than you think you’ll need and put items like rocks, pine cones, pine needles, fruits or vegetables in the bucket.

5. Create!  Your arrangement or centerpiece need not be perfect or uniform … kind of like us!

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Why go native?

  • Connect to your local economy
  • Connect to your local environment
  • Keep pesticides and harmful chemicals out of your home
  • Support your local organic market (a farmer’s market, a store, a neighbor’s backyard)
  • Provide creative members of your family an opportunity to offer their abilities and passion
  • Save money! Give more to other needs in your community
  • Discover the joy of living in sync with the seasons and nature’s ever-changing bounty
  • Celebrate and be grateful for the nature that reflects your particular community and place
  • Reflect mindfulness and care for God’s creation (many ways to do this: food, coffee, recycling, reusable mugs, etc. and our altar flowers can make a difference too!)
  • Invite your church to join the “Slow Flower” movement
  • Reduce your carbon footprint, one bouquet at a time
  • Be inspired to grow flowers yourself!

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