As we head further into fall, it's becoming time to gather a different kind of harvest. I collect a number of different plants for dried arrangements, but I like to see how Mother Nature dries and preserves them. I don't really have enough room in the basement to hang and dry everything, and sometimes weathering produces much more intriguing results.
If you are planning on collecting plants that are not on your own property, MAKE SURE TO GET PERMISSION. Oftentimes forest preserves, gardens, and arboreta have strict rules about what you may and may not collect. If a researcher has a project using seed pods, seeds, or other fruit materials, you might be taking their precious thesis material. Sometimes ambitious collecting severly disrupts the plant community and ecosystem. Any institution or gardener appreciates being asked and may make special accommodations for your project.
Something you might run across if you live in an older community, especially if it's former farmland is Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) fruit. These are softball sized and have a pleasant citrusy scent. They make wonderful arrangements, but keep in mind that they are not dried material and will break down over time. I've seen them spiked with cloves much like a regular orange. Some folks swear that kept in the basement, they keep away spiders. I haven't tried it yet.