I've always loved the crazy orange-y red berries on twisty ornamental bittersweet vines growing along the side of the road, in hard to reach places. for me, they've always signaled fall and the start of holiday season. I love to incorporate the vines in my outdoor planters because they add a little drama and interest to an otherwise low key/low profile container. in the past I've pilfered it from behind the local police station, the woods next to an elementary school and a little from my street but that's part of my problem - sometimes it grows so high or it's too far into the brambles to reach. I noticed easy access bittersweet all along the girls' school campus and athletic fields this fall so for one of the last visits in november I threw a pair of hedge clippers in the back of my mini. one thing I should've done? throw a tarp in the back, too. this stuff makes a huge mess and the berries can stain if squished.I usually start with ornament kale in my urns in mid-october (I have an aversion to mums) or tall wire topiaries and dress them up with this curly, crazy vine. it adds nice color, too. then, once thanksgiving hits, I pull the (at this point, really really dead) kale and replace them with my fabulous, giant red balls, add some evergreens and keep the bittersweet for added height. footnote: this year I don't have the fabulous, giant red balls because, apparently, they have a 5 year lifespan. at least 10 balls break in storage and there's only so many times you can hot glue things into styrofoam. I had it on my 2014 craftyass TO DO list but it just never happened so now they're on my 2015 craftyass TO DO list because that's how I roll.
I used mini boxwood 'trees' - which are just green florist foam in the shape of a pyramid with little boxwood clippings jammed in. I won't be buying these again since the foam is pretty unreliable and I've had to patch them with wooden dowels for extra support. the bittersweet definitely adds some much needed interest. SMALL PRINT: after I posted a picture on instagram a friend of mine let me know that what I did (cutting it in CT and bringing it home to MA) was illegal - it's against the law to transport ornamental bittersweet between states the same way you can't move firewood. it's an invasive vine which chokes trees and kills plants and we don't need any more of it here so I apologize and won't do it again. also, it's poisonous so keep it away from your pets. and your kitchen table.