Blithewold Gardens and Arboretum is an exceptional historic mansion in Bristol, Rhode Island. Overlooking the Narragansett Bay, it is of the same period as Newport’s Gilded Age “cottages” but with a welcoming country estate air. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed helping decorate rooms for their Christmas tours as well as attending many lectures and workshops.
It is just such a workshop — Pomander Holiday Centerpieces — that inspired this blog. At last, having been fascinated with this singular, yet simple, decorative element for years, I was finally going to have an opportunity to make my own. With hands-on instruction from gentle-natured (and patient) Julie Christina, I soon had a bowls-worth of beauties — to either use as a centerpiece or place groupings throughout rooms of the house for Christmas. The aroma of orange and cloves is captivating! And the bonus? They are not just for the holidays. Once discovered, you will want them throughout the year.
Thick-skinned Navel oranges or grapefruit
Channel knife (below left)
Zester (with channel knife built in) (below right)
TIP: Thanks to their thin skin, mandarine or clementine oranges don’t need peeling; simply press cloves into the fruit.
Channel knife is best for straight lines.
Zester with channel knife will be your choice for curls or spirals.
Sharp-pointed bamboo skewers can be used for creating holes for inserting the tip of the clove as well as for placing decorated oranges into floral arrangements.
Cloves are a bit pricey, so order them in bulk from Amazon.
The finishing touch? Create a personalized pomander with an initial for you or a friend. It makes a wonderful gift alone or nestled into a seasonal arrangement.
I would hope for you that you could conclude your pomander-making session with a four-course tea, as I did at Blithewold — what a treat, in so many ways! Thank you, Julie.