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Celebration in an 18th-Century Mansion
Gathering The Natural Materials
Photography by Hoag Levins

PHOTO PAGES: .. One | Two | Three | Four | Five

CAMDEN, N.J. (Nov. 26, 2001) -- In preparation for the first full-scale effort to completely decorate 18th-century Pomona Hall with traditional materials, members of the Camden County Historical Society's Mary Cooper Gardeners scoured woodlands and backyards for needed items. Battling brambles, Sandy Levins stalks fresh bittersweet and thorny wild rose hips (above, left). The plan called for a wide variety of wild greens which were brought to the Society's headquarters by the carload (above, right).

Color and texture were crucial considerations for the gatherers. Blood-red rose hips (above, left) contrasted with berries of high blue color provided eye-pleasing allure.

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Fresh cranberries (above, left) were used for stringing as well as for accents in a variety of decorations. Hinoki cypress with tightly clustered slivery berries came from a private garden and provided an exotic touch.
Holly thick with berries, a staple of the project, was gathered in large amounts (above, left). Meanwhile, lichen-covered branches provided subtle silvery-green accents.

Bayberry, gathered from the seaward edges of the Pinelands (above, left) provided one of the most cherished traditional elements of decoration, while gumballs functioned as nicely textured natural versions of small Christmas tree balls.

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