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Camp Frémont

Gardening, Photography, and Homeschool.

- by Sarah Fremont


We had moved into our 5-acre homestead in February—trees, plants, and grass were still very much in hibernation mode, but I was anxious to start planning our garden. I had no idea what would pop up in the spring, but I had the good fortune to be just down the road from the previous owners. So with paper and pen, I strolled over for a visit. After a bit of catching up, I asked “What sorts of plants and flowers should I expect to greet us in the spring?” I got my pen ready for the list. They looked at each other sheepishly. “Errrr. Ummmm. Volunteer plants?” This was code for weeds. I was so disappointed. They had lived in the home for 40 years, but did not have the foresight to plant perennial gifts for the future. I would have to start from scratch.

Whenever I read books, and they talk about the fruit trees around their properties, the flowering vines gracing an arbor, or the bulbs popping up in the spring, I always think about how someone planted each of those things. They did not just happen by accident. And I think that’s one of the most special things you can do for any place you live—plant something for future generations to discover and enjoy.

As I returned to my homestead, I considered all the ways I could beautify the property. The one vine I knew I had to find a place for was clematis. I’ve planted evergreen vines in the past, but nothing compares to the friendly, cheerful blooms of the clematis that will arrive in the spring and summer and return year after year. You must add one to your garden this spring!

Tips for growing clematis:

  1. Install a trellis or plant the clematis next to a structure it can climb. Chicken wire around posts could also be used for plant support.

  2. Plant in full sun, but add a few low-growing annuals around the base of the vine (or use rocks) because they like to have their roots in the shade.

  3. Keep watered thoroughly.

  4. After the blooms fade, seed heads known as “old man’s beard” will appear, and they can be used for beautiful, dried flower arrangements.

Head to your local nursery this spring and pick out your favorite color of the clematis vine. You will find so much joy with their showy blooms and future folks will share in the happiness!

Happy gardening! xo

  • Writer's pictureSarah Fremont

February in Minnesota is cold and dark, and finding ways to feel cozy and warm is imperative: candles, fires, twinkly lights, warm drinks, and gatherings with friends helps. So when our neighbor invited us over for yummy treats and mugs of cocoa we were delighted. Heading over in the darkness (at 5:00 p.m.!) we were greeted with homemade glowing ice lanterns illuminating our path to their door. Welcomed into the warmth of their home we were captivated by the smells of good things. The greatest delight was the table decked out in a whimsical display of foraged greens. So simple, lovely, and inviting!

A winter tablescape of found nature is a beautiful way to use your creativity to create a place to gather that makes your guests feel welcomed, thought of, and cared for. And the cost is only time and imagination. Here are some ideas to inspire you to decorate the table for your winter dining festivities:

  1. Linens wrapped in twine with cinnamon sticks and a sprig of evergreen tucked in.

  2. Pinecones as holders for seating place cards.

  3. Candles add height and a beautiful glow.

  4. Evergreen branches to create a garland along the table.

  5. Evergreens and twigs for simple vase arrangements.

  6. Hanging wreath made from foraged branches.

Set the gathering in motion by inviting guests over on a specific date this winter—potluck style so all are involved in the food—and you can spend your time creating the cozy atmosphere. Happy gathering! xo

  • Writer's pictureSarah Fremont

Many months ago, we were walking along the paths on our property to gather wildflowers— sage, guara, primroses, and daisies. “Let’s make a few arrangements for the home and tuck a few away in the barn to see how these look dried out,” my twelve-year-old said. We placed a few bouquets in little vases and scattered them throughout our house, and took the remaining flowers out to the barn. In a cool, dark spot among the rafters we have bunches and bunches of wildflowers hanging upside down. We like to see how the colors, leaves, and stems of the flowers change in appearance as they dry. After drying out they can be placed in vases as dried bouquets or used for various crafts. With Christmas nearing, we decided to make mini wreaths to adorn our gifts.

Placing a little extra intentionality with the wrapping is really fun, and a mini wreath can really elevate the presentation of a gift, especially if made from flowers you grew months ago. A dried bouquet wreath can also become a gift itself and saved to hang someplace fun. And the process to create one is so simple.

How to:

  1. Make your wreath base. I like to use grapevines to create a simple wreath. For this example, the wreath is 5 inches in diameter. If you are using fresh living vines, you can let them dry out for a couple of days after you cut them. Then simply make a circular coil, secure with florist wire, and tuck in the ends. (Hobby stores also have pre-made wreaths.)

  2. Make your mini bouquet. Gather your dried flowers into an arrangement and trim for size. For this wreath, I used an 8-inch bouquet. Secure the ends with twine.

  3. Attach your bouquet to the side of the wreath. I attached using florist wire.

  4. Attach your mini wreath to your gift and voila! (I like to loop through using brown twine.)

A mini wreath is such a beautiful addition to your Christmas presents. Tuck away a few

bunches of wildflowers from your spring nature walks and you will have the dried flowers

ready for you come winter. Happy crafting! xo

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