Along the Garden Path: Decorate with the bounty of fall


By Charlene Thornhill



The flowers are gone and the leaves have fallen to the ground, but we can still be inspired by the season’s colors and textures. In thinking of a centerpiece for the dining or coffee table, take a walk outdoors and check out the possibilities of items to make an arrangement. During late autumn and early winter, you can be amazed by the season’s colors and textures – reddish leaves, bright orange pumpkins, twining vines, striped gourds, fruits, berries, seeds, and pine cones. All of these are just right for creating an outstanding floral centerpiece.

Look for items with interesting shapes and textures; then choose your favorite container.

A very simple centerpiece is to put a candle in the middle of a low container then add some of nature’s wonders to it like some pine cones, sweet gum balls, buckeyes, and acorn nuts. Other helpful hints would be to shape grapevine or honeysuckle into balls to add to the centerpiece. You could add ornamental grass seedheads but first spray them with unscented hairspray to prevent shedding.

Try adding some miniature pumpkins and gourds, looking for a variety of colors, shapes and sizes to add dimension. Pile the items around the bases of the candle and layer to fill in the spaces. You can add bittersweet or other berried branches that add a contrast to the smooth, hard surfaces of the gourds. The vines add a layer of flowing, elegant lines to the arrangement. It makes for a warm feeling to have the candlelight reflecting off of the colorful collection of objects in the autumn display.

After Thanksgiving, convert the harvest theme into a winter holiday arrangement. Remove all of the items except the candles and add some florist foam to fit between the candles. Soak the foam overnight until the water has fully saturated the foam and then anchor it with some sticky florist clay.

Cut several stems of bright red berries from your deciduous holly and insert this into the foam. Berries on woody stems stay fresh longer if you soak them in lukewarm water for several hours first. Further prolong the life of the arrangement by trimming the stems after about five days and keeping the foam moist.

Branches from a blue juniper create a soft bed of evergreens around the candles. Juniper’s flat needles are easy to layer and conceal the florist foam. Small red or bright green apples add a dash of color and their round form serves as a nice look to the spiky juniper. You can shine the skin of the apple by rubbing the apple lightly with vegetable oil.

Finish the arrangement with a few pine cones and a few more sprigs of holly. The fragrance will be great for a period of time and then sprinkle drops of scented oil on to the pine cones. It takes only a few minutes to assemble but lasts for weeks.

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By Charlene Thornhill

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at chardonn@embarqmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at chardonn@embarqmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.