The Berries

Once it was decided to express a little holiday red, it seemed only natural to add berries to my Japanese maple branches.  It took an entire day to get them ready to hang.  With the temps in the teens, one hopes for an installation that is easy to manage with gloves on, and with dispatch.  Glass ornaments are fine outdoors-as long as no water gets inside, and freezes.  I had no interest in exploding berries.  So the caps were glued on all the way around, and the holes in the top around the hanger were sealed shut with glue. Then a florist’s wire was attached to each berry or berry cluster.  I would guess we glued and wired about 600 ornaments. 

Each tree had its own bucket of ornaments; I asked for the help of both the landscape crew and the shop people-so no one would have to be outdoors too long.  As it turned out, the south side of the building on a sunny day is not too bad.  It always seems like I have way too many ladders, until I have a project like this.  My only regret here-the need to disturb my snow blanket.  One sure sign of a gardener-that person who does not permit the mailman to trudge across the front yard through the snow.  “Please use the side walk sir.” I do like looking at my fresh and unsullied snow. 

Rob has no qualms about perching on a ladder listing to the east, as you can see.  He is also plenty tall enough to get some of the ornaments up high. Good design is not necessarily complicated-an edited and simple gesture can be just grand.  It just means that all of the effort it took to produce that gesture came ahead of the display, and is not visible.  I am not so good at editing at the holidays; I like to add, and then add a little more.  Getting the ornament to the tops of these trees is about making an effort. Sometimes a solid effort is sometimes all you need to bring a smile to someone’s face. 

The entire process went much faster than I thought. A holiday orchard was just about complete. 

Should I get to the office later than Steve in the morning, he will have turned on the lights. It is dark late into the morning now. The past few weeks I have been noticing all the bits and pieces I have placed in the windows.  I finally noticed all of that was apparent from the street.  I have 4 large scale factory windows with sills a foot deep.  These surfaces had accumulated all manner of unrelated objects that just needed to be put away.  In short, my window sills had that littered look.  With the remaining Japanese maple branches, Pam and I dressed a collection of vintage American jars with small holiday topiaries.  I glued on the berries; Pam did the bottoms.  We did 26 in all.

The three windows facing the front are now jammed with these jars.  The thicket of berried branches looks good on my side of the glass. 

From outside, the look is much improved.  Sometimes the smallest change can make a big impact.  Changing what I have become used to is the toughest change to make.  What is familiar has a way of hanging on with me. 

All of the big berries in the big trees, and the mini-berries in the little trees are out there-now what?


  1. Looks done to my eye. Now wait for snow.

    The spare branches and the interior echos satisfy quite nicely.

  2. Amazing how red ‘pops’ in the winter landscape.

  3. Looks grand….and the off-set of the blue sky is a real stunner. Glad to know I have “real gardener” cred: nothing bums me out more than when someone screws with our snow blanket. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Michael, I plan to take more pictures-if we ever have another sunny day. Let no man put asunder what nature has wrought-gardeners do get this business about unsullied snow! Deborah

  4. I love the look!! So many talented people employed there especially Pamela)! So earthy looking and the pop of red makes such a statement. Happy Holidays to all!

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