The Hunt for Orange October – Finding Bittersweet

October 21st, 2010

Everyday at work for the past few weeks I have been pestering Darla to bring me some bittersweet.

Hey Darla did you bring me any bittersweet?


Did you remember the bittersweet?

Where’s my bittersweet Darla?


I really need some bittersweet Darla.

I need it.

Did you get it?

The bittersweet?

Can you bring it tomorrow Darla?



Darla has a few patches of it growing on her farm.  She likes to wait until after it has opened to pick it, so I had to wait too.

I waited and waited and waited.

Finally I got sick of waiting and I asked her if I could go get the dang bittersweet myself.  Darla said I could.  I think she was sick of me asking about it.

Bittersweet is a vine and it likes to grow up fences and on sturdier plants.  I have been keeping an eye out for it since the beginning of October hoping to decrease my dependence on Darla, but I only found one patch growing on a drive far north of town and I wasn’t able to pick it at the time.










Darla told me where her patch was located, but she also told me about some growing in a nearby cemetery.  Feeling kind of weird about cutting bittersweet on Darla’s land while she wasn’t home, I opted to cut some at the cemetery.  I don’t know what the laws are governing cutting a few vines off of a patch growing on an old fence in a cemetery, but if there are any, I probably broke them.  I cut a whole bunch and then later I went back and cut some more.  I wanted enough to trim the mantle and the dining room chandelier. I wish I had cut even more.

I really, really like bittersweet.

I wonder if I would like it as well if it was called pigberry or runnyrunsweed or grubblenuts.

Hmmmmmmm. It does make one wonder…

The berries opened a few days after I hung it up.

I am going to try and grow some from seed this year and Darla might dig me some of her plants.  I don’t know if I am more likely to get the plants if I pester her everyday from now until next Spring or if I sort of lay low and rely on body language to communicate my desperate need.  Which method do you think is more effective?

Because there’s nothing I like more than home decor that is made from something natural and is completely free.

It just makes me so dad gum happy.  I feel like I have won the lottery.  Look at my free bittersweet!  It was made by nature and not a child in a sweat shop!  It didn’t cost me a dime and a factory worker in China didn’t have to work a twelve hour shift to manufacture it!  It will not end up in a land fill! It’s so beautiful! Soooo beautifuuuuuuul!

And the glittery skeleton that is hanging amidst all that gorgeous bittersweet?



There’s not one thing natural about him.

But he makes me happy too.


  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    I like your style, Dude.

  • GeoLee:

    Each spring I go to a nearby cemetery and cut enormous amounts of peonies for my house. Every Fall I say I’m going to divide a couple of the peony plants for my yard……but I have yet to do it.

  • Jaime:

    I have searched high and low for bittersweet near us but have yet to find any! I love it too, and your chandelier looks fab!

  • Gayl:

    I live on Bittersweet Lane, and have Bittersweet growing free in my yard….so, yes I understand! I love it, too!

  • CeeBee:

    I ‘m on the same Bittersweet train as you– nothing says “Fall” like Bittersweet and it complements your chandelier so well. One word to the wise– choose carefully your location for planting Bittersweet as it can be invasive. I also search roadsides for teasel which has such an interesting seedhead.

    • Rechelle:

      Teasel? Teasel? I have to find out what that is now.

    • LucyJoy:

      Teasel is so pretty! My mom used to pick it & spray paint it gold to use in fall arrangements. It’s a fun word to say, too! :o)

  • I love bittersweet and I love sparkly skeletons. Your decor looks fantastic.

  • Jennifer:

    I love it, too. It’s the perfect color (in my opinion).

    I had artificial bittersweet in my bridal bouquet (artificial because the real stuff stains like a sonofabitch).

  • Kay in KCMO:

    I really like the fact that you don’t have any window treatments on your dining room windows.

    Bittersweet is one of the joys of fall; alas, I’ve never found any growing here in the city, but if there was, Katie bar the door!

  • Martha in Kansas:

    Oh, this brought back memories. My mother was also bittersweet crazed. I remember on a day trip when it was spotted beside the road. The car came to a screeching stop. She tried to convince us kids to go get it. Finally she went after it, climbing through a muddy ditch and up the bank for the gold.

    And now, I can feel it coming on. Have to get out this weekend and search for some. There must be some around the area.

    BTW, “pruning” “overgrown” plants in a cemetery is just volunteer maintenance and totally acceptable.

  • LucyJoy:

    ….Now I want bittersweet. I wonder if it grows in the Pacific NW? I’m going to have to find out. It would look much prettier growing on our old barbed wire fence than the wild blackberries…

  • jane:

    Bittersweet in NY is lovely but POISONOUS to humans if eaten….and all the berries which look so delightful FALL OFF when you hang it on your door or bring it inside. And those berries will begin LOTS of vines wherever you don’t want them……Is your bittersweet different? Cause you don’t want mine!!

    • Rechelle:

      I would love a vine or two. I wonder if overhead spraying is killing it around these parts, because it really is hard to find.

  • Happy skeleton=happy me!