Hunting for Pine Cones in Hampstead Heath

I am trying to recreate a golden woodland in my living room in the name of Christmas decorating.  Top of my wish list were gilded pine cones but I can’t bring myself to part with money for something that really grows on trees.  I spent a couple of hours on the internet hunting down pine trees in a London public space but was thwarted by the Royal Park policies which forbid the removal of flora.  I eventually gave up on technology and decided to take a Saturday afternoon stroll around Hampstead Heath and try my luck. 

I walked for 30 minutes weaving in an out of the undergrowth and scanning the floor with eager eyes before I found a single pine tree surrounded by a few partially rotten cones.  I brushed the decay and insects off and bagged them in case I couldn’t find any more.  I considered clambering up the tree to shake the branches but thought better of it when I noticed the nettles and thorns that would have broken my landing should I have fallen.  Another 30 minutes passed and the sun started to set.  I started to worry that I would get locked in as I had no idea where the nearest exit was.  Feeling defeated, I stropped towards the sound of traffic past a clearing known as the Vale of Health which happens to be the home of a glorious procession of pines and a sea of pine cones!  I hurriedly bagged as many as I could before the sunset (which probably isn’t very fair – I imagined that the following day a Sound of Music-style family with wicker baskets would spend Sunday morning digging about in the mud for my rejects).

When I got the cones home I washed them all in warm soapy water and then left them to dry in the kitchen for a week.  The cones open up when they’re dry and look more like the traditional cones that you would see in the shops.  Once they were completely open, I sprayed them with rose gold metallic paint, attached a length of ribbon and hung them in the tree – beautiful!

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses to Hunting for Pine Cones in Hampstead Heath

  1. Vincent says:

    Dear Victoria,
    I am a Product Design student from the Royal College of Art. I am currently working on a project based on sourcing local material for a small production. Sap from pine tree is one of the main ingredients I am looking for and I would be using it as glue for my product. I realize your post is about 3 years old, but I am wondering if you would still remember where you found those pine cones or any other area you would suggest for best looking for them?
    Thank you very much!
    Regards,
    Vincent Fan

  2. Victoria says:

    Hello Vincent. I found my pine cones in the Vale of Health in Hampstead Heath. How are you getting on with your project?

    • Younes says:

      I would love to live somewhere like London, at least for a while. I have vitsied twice, but I only felt like I was able to see the touristy things and I would have loved to really explore more.

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