Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Fall foliage may be in the spotlight. But donít let it steal all the attention. Create stunning fall arrangements using fall flowers, fruits and berries, leaves, seedpods, nuts, and other materials.
Take a look in your backyard. Chances are, youíll find all sorts of suitable florals. They may be from your garden shrubs, such as bayberry, chokecherry, firethorn, hawthorn, or viburnum. In your rose garden, donít overlook vivid red and orange rose hips.
If you have fruit trees, you can harvest your own apples, pears, and quinces. For floral designs, the Lady apple-an heirloom variety-often preferred. It features small, flattish red fruits that are just the right size for making wreaths. Gardeners in warm climates may have their own kumquats and pomegranate trees. But the rest of us will have to buy these fruits in supermarkets.
Fall foliage has its place in fall arrangements. Ones with distinctive shapes are the best. Examples include ginkgo, oak, maples, sassafras, and hawthorn.
Autumn brings a rich assortment of seedpods, nuts, and cones, including pine cones. Acorns and chestnuts work nicely in designs. Hazelnuts are especially decorative. Cut the entire stem so the nuts remain in their ornamental covering.
Seedpods of eucalyptus, ornamental grasses, and poppies are often featured in floral designs.
As an extra touch, consider painting pine cones silver or gold. Gilded leaves also work very well in some designs.
For vertical interest, add branches of Harry Lauderís walking stick or curly willow.
What kinds of arrangements are suitable? Most anything. Create centerpieces, and wreaths as well as fall bouquets. For a spectacular display of fruits, create a fruit topiary by starting with a styrofoam topiary form, and covering it with lemons or apples. Then fill the small spaces between those with cranberries or other small berry.
Pumpkins are the basis for lovely centerpieces. Cut off the top, and scoop out the seeds. Then fill it with fall flowers and foliage. This arrangement tends to be informal.
For more ideas on using pumpkins for both practical and ornamental purposes, I refer you to a delightful new book from Ten Speed Press. "Holiday Pumpkins-a Collection of Inspired Recipes, Gifts, and Decorations" is by Georgeanne Brennan et al. When you're entertaining this fall, follow their directions for pumpkin place cards, candle holders, centerpieces, and pumpkin vases. There are additional ideas for outdoor decorations, including a pumpkin harvest swag, a pumpkin wreath, and much more.
Each project or recipe features a complete list of materials or ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and color photos of the completed product. You'll find this inspiring book is very useful throughout the holidays--from Halloween to Thanksgiving with scrumptious recipes that are sure to please everyone.
Gourds are just lovely, and theyíre available in abundant numbers during the fall months. Just take your pick from the various shapes, sizes, and colors.