Will Tanner always wanted a real winter. That quest for icicles, snow, and boughs of holly berries brought Will and his partner, Thom Sacco, to Portland, Maine, in 2010. They were living in Washington, D.C.—Thom an Energy Department lawyer and Will a White House liaison—when they went looking for a home with strong winter potential. The quaint 1760 cottage near Portland with its full, rip-roaring weather was exactly what they had in mind. At last, they found winter.
By early December, Will is well into the hunt for winterberry, which he planted in the marsh specifically for holiday festivities. Winterberry lasts long intact if the stems are plunged into water. Also from the marshland come branches from red-twig dogwood, corkscrew willow, and staghorn sumac.