Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Panier a Champignons - Foraging Baskets & More of my English Cottage Living Room

Around this time last month I showed you part of my English Cottage style living room and mentioned that I was working on a post about a recent find which wasn't transferware; an item shown in the picture below.  Guess what it is?!?

Have you ever been introduced to a particular type of item and then decided you've got to find one for yourself?  A few years back I discovered foraging baskets attached to walking sticks.  I have been a little enamored with them ever since seeing one in a decorating book and then finding one in an online antique store.  I finally found one for myself…see it in the pic above, just to the right of the fireplace?

The Foragers Walking Stick basket is usually constructed of a hand made wicker basket built around a rustic walking stick or cane.  They have been popular in France for many years and are known there as "Panier a Champignons" or mushroom basket.  Traditionally, they were used for collecting wild mushrooms before they were cultivated and sometimes berries or other food foraged from the woods.  My foraging basket doubles as a flower picking basket as it's got leather, buckled straps inside which could hold shears or stand up small bunches of flowers.  

Many of these baskets have spiked ends, sometimes carved from the wood and sometimes with a metal spike which allows one to stick it into the ground while foraging in the wild and freeing up both hands.  The crook can also be hung on a branch for apple picking.   Once I'd run across one and began my hunt for one of my own I came across several before I found an antique that was in a price range I could afford.  It has some issues but they don't bother me at all since it's a decorative piece for me and I'm not usually out scouring the countryside for fungi =) 

Above is a late, 19C walking stick and trug sold at Sotheby's.  This walking stick / basket combination was used by Roald Dahl ( author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach ).  Dahl would go mushroom picking above his orchard in fields around his home with his Jack Russell at his side.  It has a hickory shaft and beech basket / trug. 

This basket was found at a roadside farm stand by another blogger for only $1!  Unbelievable.  Especially as the previous one I showed had a valuation of about $700!

I think that two of these with the hooked ends facing opposite directions would be such a pretty welcome on either side of a door or entryway, especially for a party.  The contents could be changed out seasonally with fruits, foliage, flowers, gourds, pinecones, etc.  

I love Anita's (Cedar Hill Farmhouse) arrangement of walking sticks and this foraging basket in her home.  Click the link to see the rest of her post!

And isn't this Victorian era cane basket an unusual one?  Does it also remind you a little of an umbrella not fully opened?

Recently as I was searching for an antique foraging basket I came across a few reproductions and bought some to sell in my online shop of which only 1 remains.  I hope to get more in!  I've also found some reproductions in online nurseries, most located in the UK so shipping tends to be pricey if you're in the USA. 

Below, I partially filled one of the reproductions with a few flowers and placed it in my artillery basket along with some walking sticks.  

And, in our back hall/entry I filled one of the foraging baskets with a bundle of twigs.

I think the baskets are such charming pieces making perfect cottage accents!

Savvy Southern Style
Ivy and Elephants

A Stroll Thru LIfe
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Your Gonna Love It Tuesday at Kathe with an E 
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country CottageCharm of Home
Homemaking Linkup at Hope In Every Season 
Table It! at Rustic & Refined
Anything Goes Party at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo
Fridays Unfolded at Nancherrow


  1. Hi Nancy! I've never heard or seen these before but how fun it would be to decorate with them. Now your living room looks so pretty and I just love the style you're going with. Hope you're doing well.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  2. Hi Nancy, I'm with Shelia and have never heard or seen these interesting items. My favorite one is the one near your fireplace. Missed seeing you...nice to see you again.

  3. What an interesting post. I love these. They look so pretty in you decor. Just beautiful!

  4. Oh, Nancy! I just love these foraging baskets...and have been wanting one for years...I hope I will be blessed with one, too, one of these days :) I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago and have so enjoyed your posts and touring your home....and finding out that you are not too far from me! (I'm in Fort Smith)

  5. Really beautiful, but I am a basket person. But I love your room and those red chairs! xxx...

  6. Nancy, I have been schooled. Thank you and you are right- they are a cottage delight. I may run across one in Ga./S.C. now that I know about them. xo, Olive

  7. Nancy, what a great post! Such great background info. Your basket is a wonderful addition to your lovely decor!

  8. That's such an interesting post, Nancy. I've never seen one of those baskets before, even when we lived in Italy in mushroom country. But they are charming! Lucky you to find one, too. Best, Jane

  9. Hi Nancy Thanks for sharing your interesting blog. Love the baskets.
    Greetings from South Africa

  10. Love your cottage style; just found your blog and shop! Even purchased an item from your shop today :-) I will be a daily reader. Great photos! Cheers, Cheryl

  11. Love Forager's Walking Sticks. I have a French market basket, but am on the hunt for a forager's basket. Your living room looks so comfy and welcoming.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  12. These are adorable! I've never seen them before. Thankyou!

  13. I found your site by accident in searching for a basket I found that was similar to yours. I have searched every basket site I could find but only your Forager walking stick cane even comes close. My basket is definitely old- probably late 19th -early 20thC. It is a green painted wicker garden/gathering basket/trug on the top with a pole woven in underneath. It really makes sense. One can cut flowers (the basket has a little loop to hold small shears on the side) using both hands because you can stick the pole in the ground. Any idea of what to call what I found?


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