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Foraging is searching for and collecting flowers, leaves and foliage that are growing in the wild for your own personal use. Foraging is legal in the UK in most places as long as you abide by certain rules as laid out in the Countryside Act.
Foraging is a great way to incorporate foliage into your home styling that you might not otherwise be able to access or afford.
There is a lot of information available on the web about the rules of foraging but here are my top tips...
- Only take what you need and no more & only where there is an abundance
- Never uproot any plant or flower as this is illegal
- Never cause any damage or leave any rubbish
- Stick to public footpaths, bridleways and woodland as you need the landowner's permission to enter private property
- Research your route beforehand and check for any local restrictions that might be signposted
- Be sure you know the species before you pick anything and take care to avoid poisonous plants!
Below are the answers to some other foraging-related FAQs...
Where can I forage for foliage & flowers?
In the UK, it is legal to forage for cuttings of many species of flowers and plants. You cannot dig up a whole plant including the roots as this is illegal. Check the websites for your local area to understand any restrictions in place. If you wish to forage on private land, you must first seek permission from the landowner.
Why forage for foliage for your home?
Foraging is a healthy and fun way to get out into nature whilst enjoying fresh air and exercise. There are benefits to your physical and mental health from partaking in the process of foraging, plus the obvious cost-saving aspects of foraging foliage for free. You can’t help but feel uplifted when you are exploring the countryside as nature is amazing and it helps put our daily problems in perspective. You also get to see animals and wildlife.
When should I forage for flowers and foliage?
You can forage at any time of the year and the plants and flowers available will obviously change in line with the seasons. If you are looking for specific flowers or plants then you'll to find out when they grow and plan accordingly. Morning is a good time to forage and you should put anything you collect straight into water to help it last longer.
How do I forage for foliage and flowers?
Once you have a project in mind (eg a mantle display or a large vase display) this should give you an idea of the types of foliage you will need as well as the volume. Plan your route in advance so you can be sure to stick to public areas where foraging is permitted. Collect some flowers, leaves, branches etc using sharp secateurs or floristry scissors and put in water. Be sure to only take what you need and only if there is plenty available.
What can you do with foraged foliage?
There is so much you can do with foraged flowers and foliage and they make the loveliest addition to a room. Some examples are tablescapes, a mantle display, a large vase for a windowsill or even little bud vases for bedside table or sprigs of greenery for decorating napkins. Twigs and branches can be used to hang Easter or Christmas decorations from if stood in a vase or you could even display on the wall by threading through chicken wire that has been tacked on.
I deliberately let parts of our garden grow a bit wild and also buy heavily discounted plants from the garden centre which I allow to grow unhindered to ensure there is always a good selection of greenery and flowers to use for garden foraging. After a storm or heavy winds you can pick up lots of twigs and branches that have been blown out of the trees.
Even a trip to the park can be a foraging opportunity in the Autumn and winter as you can pick up lots of excellent shaped pine cones and fir cones which are great for styling with.
Be sure to check out my blog for lots of posts on how to style your foraged flowers and foliage and also my online course which has a whole module on this subject.
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