Wednesday, November 28, 2012

!WOW!  is the response guaranteed when your outdoor holiday containers are viewed, according to a local news segment this morning.  Assembly of these 'wow' producing containers is easy, just use plenty of spruce tops, some pine cones and voila!  

Creative?  No, unless you want your containers to be as individual as the street corner Santa.  Fresh, fragrant, long-lasting, and inexpensive are good reasons consumers seek spruce tops.  The demand is huge, and they are not hard to find, they are seen in every lot of every box store around.   This lack of creativity, although bothersome and a bit worrying,  is not why I strongly object to using spruce tops.

Spruce tops are just that, the top chopped off a black spruce.  Black spruce grow in bogs.  Bogs are sensitive ecosystems with just the right acidic conditions to grow unique plants like the insect eating pitcher plant, and wild cranberries.  Of course these unique conditions support a variety of unique animal life.                                                              
sphagnum moss
black spruce bog
The harvest of spruce tops is done using ATV's that compact the sensitive mossy floor of the bog.  The bogs do not recover well from this invasion.  Because of the huge consumer demand for spruce tops, bogs on both private and public land are illegally harvested in greedy pursuit.

I urge you to use your creativity, not be like everyone else.  Forego the purchase of spruce tops, go for sustainable stems, rose hips, dried plant material...the possibilities are beautiful for your containers and the beleaguered bog.