The longleaf pine is probably one of my absolute favorite trees. That’s a bold statement for the lover of so many plants and trees, but the longleaf pine is definitely a top contender. I could write volumes on my adoration for these trees, their straw, their lumber, their ecosystem, their byproducts, and their place in Southern history, but for today, I’ll stick to another delightful attribute of the longleaf pine–their pine cones.
A good buddy of mine and his sister share this Farmer’s love for Hawkinsville, the River (that’s the Ocmulgee for those of you not from Houston or Pulaski Counties proper), and its native flora. These dear family friends are a slice of the South in general, with “good people” kind of roots on both sides and a true calling for the land. It is their beautiful land in particular where these gorgeous pine cones come from–land running the course of the Ocmulgee River, banked in longleaf stands, palmetto forests, and wax myrtle. It is families like theirs that make Hawkinsville and other small, Southern towns charming, tasteful, and classy. It has been said of their grandmother that if Hawkinsville had a queen, Mrs. Barbara would she be!
Since we grew up in a town so connected to the land, the river, and our agrarian heritage, it is no surprise that the offerings from the land influence or, more so, invade our décor. Whatever is in season is on our mantles, tables, or foyer pieces; and in the fall and into the depth of winter, nature lends us one of her truly amazing works of art and geometry for our tableaux–the longleaf pine cone.
Piled in bowls, bedecked on the mantle, peering from behind pheasants, mixed with pecans and cypress–however these pine cones are used, I am just elated to use them. Reminiscent of sunflower centers, chrysanthemum petals, and whirling tendrils, each and every cone is a unique expression of nature at her finest. The large longleaf cones are statements in and of themselves and are striking displayed en masse. Smaller cones tucked into fruit and pine needles are lovely for a January arrangement that harkens the Yule time feel but are totally apropos after New Year’s Day. The browns, greens, oranges, and reds of the fruit, foliage, and cones are remarkable against the glossy green boughs of holly and two tone magnolia as well. A cinnamon, green, coppery salmon and garnet hued combo is just luscious!
Simply filled with pine cones, my dining room table urn makes a statement of the season and serves as a siren to those passing by to stop, take a gander, and be amazed at the utter simplicity and elegance that is a pine cone. Sirens indeed, for these icons of beauty lure me with their song of delight, beauty, and legend of their land. From this Farmer’s pine cone filled home to yours, Happy New Year, happy decorating, and happy wishes for pine cones aplenty!