Hints of Autumn: Collecting wild seeds and finding inspiration

On an afternoon when it is too hot to be outdoors, I unroll some parcel paper on the table and set out our recently foraged seeds. Cloud parsley, milk thistle, clover, grasses and rose hips.

My little daughter can see that I have plants all over the table. She runs out to the garden and returns with a freshly harvested fuchsia flower.

“Away on a Breeze”

The feathery seeds are awaiting their first flight on the tiniest of air currents. Every time I breathe, they start to float out of frame. I carefully encourage them back into place. I hold my breathe. Time stops. Click.

My daughter returns from another garden visit and hands me two fallen hollyhock blossoms.

One of my younger boys runs through the kitchen singing. Grasses scatter across the table whilst milk thistles take to the air. He happily helps me catch them as they float towards the door, a practised skill from many hours spent chasing delicate storm bubbles in the garden.

“Gentle Partings”

The patter of footsteps. My daughter has found six faded rose petals and a handful of leaves.

Of everything in this wild harvest, the cloud parsley seeds are my favourite. I almost prefer them to the actual flower. I lift the sprig out of the diorama and study it in detail, turning it in my hands, before laying it back down carefully. The brittle stem makes a scratching sound against the thick paper.

“Be Free”

When I have completed my work, my daughter is still intrigued, standing on her tip toes to see.

I recreate her mouse doll in petals, using delicate little seeds as the eyes and lashes. She asks if her mouse can be a dancer, so we use the hollyhock petals as the skirt and give our ballerina a tiny fuchsia crown. Snipping a piece of the cloud parsley, we give the mouse a miniature flower stem of her own.

“At midnight, Mouse transforms into a Dancer”

We take a photograph together and safely store the seeds away to sow in our garden.*

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*We only gather a few common seed heads that have already fallen to the ground in the hedgerows near our home. Wildflowers in bloom should be left to go to seed so that they may return the following year. Please respect the wildflower laws wherever you live.

39 Comments

    1. Awwr thanks Laurie 🙂 I’m hoping to have a little shop on my website before Christmas – I shall remember to try and include some of these if you think they are good enough x 🥰

  1. When I was a child, I used to collect wildflowers to press them between the book pages. It was always exciting to see how they turned out to be and I used pressed flowers to make Birthday cards for my family and friends 😀

  2. Your beautiful little mouse dancer reminds me of the stories of ‘Bagpuss’. So creative. Your your family adventures are inspiring (and humbling). Thank you for sharing them.

  3. OMG, these pictures are amazing. The color scheme is soothing and the mouse ballerina lovely.
    I thought summer months were longer when I was a kid, but these days everything seems to go at a rapid pace. Fall is one of my favorite seasons too; the changing leaves and pumpkins galore. Longer days are what I miss most of summer days.
    I hope you and your family are doing well and staying healthy!

    1. Hello there x I too remember summer being so much longer when I was little … I’m happy you liked the little mouse ballerina, it was a quick bit of fun at the end, but I preferred it to all of the other collages that took longer! 🙂 Autumn is my favourite month – the temperature and beauty of springtime, but here the ground has had time to dry over the summer, so the footpaths are so much easier than spring, where you still sink into the ground! We’re all doing well here, and I hope you family are all safe and well too xxx

      1. Things feel a lot different with age! What seemed so large as a child grows smaller as you get bigger. Sometimes spontaneous art projects turn out better than planned ones.
        Autumn will be here soon. What I can’t believe is that leaves will be falling off soon. Bittersweet: beautiful but sad to see the trees bare.
        I hope you and your family are having a good last week of August. We’re chugging along…last week was horrendous with the wildfires in CA. but it’s getting more contained. Thank goodness!! This year has drama left and right.

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