The old Germanic tradition of the Easter tree has made its way into modern American custom. These trees have not achieved the popularity of that other holiday tree but you know the look-colored eggs, ribbon, & branches. The 19th century Pennsylvanian Dutch adorned their homes with such a tree, most commonly a sassafras sapling that would be cut before leafing. Its branches would be wrapped in cotton batting then adorned with eggs, which were often dyed naturally and ornately decorated.
Nowadays it is common to see the Easter tree represented by an artistic tabletop arrangement of pussywillow branches adorned with dyed eggs or an outdoor interpretation of plastic eggs hung on tree branches of a front lawn. Regardless the employment of the tradition, the Easter tree plays well with springs symbolism- rebirth, fertility and regrowth. My spring is newly sprouted grasses-the appearance of green, blossoms on bare branches, rejuvenated patches of moss and candy toned bulbs that bring color and promise to the landscape. It’s the joy, fun and youth of childhood as you make discoveries in nature and hunt for candy filled eggs.
The Easter tree depicted here is fertility-forced quince branches with bubble gum toned florets and green pearly buds. It is regrowth-hanging glass terrarium baubles filled with soil and sprouting wheat grass. It is rebirth- suspended nests of moss and sempervivum dangling from blooming stems and it is fun-bare branches wrapped with pastel color and patterned washi tape.
Forced branches: Chaenomeles-Quince (FERTILITY)
Cut and force branches at room temperature in a large bucket of water out of direct heat. Other branches to try: plum, cherry, witch hazel or viburnum.
Hanging bauble terrarium with wheat grass (REGROWTH)
We liked the idea of playing with a round shape. Compositionally, it’s our egg.
Hang a mini greenhouse and watch spring in the making. Wheat grass generally takes 12-18 days to grow and is happiest at temperatures between 60-70 degrees. If you like the look but don’t want the bother of attending to seeds this early in season utilize tillandsias (air plants), succulents or mosses.
Nests hung by embroidery thread filled with moss and sempervivum (REBIRTH)
Employ nests from your personal collection, purchase premade nests from a craft store or make your own from a package of nesting material. We used colored embroidery thread but you can use fishing line, yarn or jute.
Nests can be filled with mosses, quail eggs, succulents or any other natural material that you desire.
Washi tape (JOY & YOUTH)
We liked the idea of adding color and pattern to the composition. Washi tape was the easiest way to achieve that look. We found that wrapping multiple layers of the same washi tape worked best.
You can also achieve this look by painting bands of color onto the quince.
The language of spring is everywhere and the Easter tree is a lovely way to welcome the new season. What’s your spring?
Images by Kelly Fitzsimmons
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