Thomas J. Story
This gracefully curving swag creates a leafy half-moon on a garden gate. Japanese maple clippings and liquidambar leaves are tucked into a base of twiggy stems.
If you have a birch or similar tree that drops wispy branches, you can gather several into a bunch and tie them in the middle with florist's wire. Otherwise, buy a twiggy swag base at a craft store (about $10 for one 16 inches long).
HOW-TO: Harvest about 12 maple stems, making cuts back to just above a side branch, as you would for usual pruning. Poke the liquidambar leaves into the purchased swag base, working from one end to the other; weave their short stems a bit among the twigs to secure them. Fill in with the Japanese maple clippings, working the stem ends into the swag base to hold everything in place.