The old Germanic tradition of the Easter tree has made its way into modern American custom. These trees have not achieved the popularity of other holiday trees, but you know the look: colored eggs, ribbons, & branches.
The 19th century Pennsylvanian Dutch adorned their homes with such a tree, most commonly a sassafras sapling that would be cut before leafing. Its branches would be wrapped in cotton batting and then adorned with eggs, which were often dyed naturally and ornately decorated.
Nowadays, it is common to see the Easter tree represented by an artistic tabletop arrangement of pussywillow branches adorned with dyed eggs or an outdoor interpretation of plastic eggs hung on tree branches of a front lawn.
Regardless of the employment of the tradition, the Easter tree plays well with spring symbolism- rebirth, fertility, and regrowth.
Designing a Modern Tabletop Easter Tree
My spring has newly sprouted grasses- the appearance of green, blossoms on bare branches, rejuvenated patches of moss, and candy-toned bulbs that bring color and promise to the landscape.
It’s the joy, fun, and youth of childhood as you make discoveries in nature and hunt for candy-filled eggs.
Easter Tree Construction Materials:
The Easter tree depicted here is fertility-forced quince branches with bubble gum-toned florets and green pearly buds. It is regrowth-hanging glass terrarium baubles filled with soil and sprouting wheat grass. It is rebirth- suspended nests of moss and sempervivum dangling from blooming stems and it is fun-bare branches wrapped with pastel color and patterned washi tape.
Spring Fever, Shrub Ideas, and An Introduction to Forced Branches
Chaenomeles-Quince represents FERTILITY.
- Cut flowering tree and shrub branches in the early spring – before they bloom. Force branches to bloom earlier than they would naturally at room temperature in a large bucket of water out of direct heat.
Other branches to try are plum, cherry, witch hazel, or viburnum.
The Hanging bauble terrarium with wheat grass represents REGROWTH.
We liked the idea of playing with a round shape. Compositionally, it’s our egg.
- Hang a mini greenhouse and watch spring in the making. Wheatgrass generally takes 12-18 days to grow and is happiest at temperatures between 60-70 degrees. If you like the look but don’t want the bother of attending to seeds this early in the season, utilize tillandsias (air plants), succulents, or mosses.
Nests hung by embroidery thread filled with moss and sempervivum (REBIRTH)
Nests can be filled with mosses, quail eggs, succulents or any other natural material that you desire.
- Employ nests from your personal collection, purchase premade nests from a craft store or make your own from a package of nesting material. We used colored embroidery thread but you can use fishing line, yarn or jute.
Washi tape (JOY & YOUTH)
We liked the idea of adding color and pattern to the composition. Washi tape was the easiest way to achieve that look. We found that wrapping multiple layers of the same washi tape worked best.
You can also achieve this look by painting bands of color onto the quince.
The language of spring is everywhere and the Easter tree is a lovely way to welcome the new season. What’s your spring?
Images by Kelly Fitzsimmons