Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Fall comes at the perfect time of year. It occurs when we’ve tired of the usual summer activities, and need a change.
Harvest is in full swing during autumn. Take advantage of the bounteous season by creating fall decorations for the garden.
There’s nothing like Indian corn to add bright vivid fall colors to the house and garden. A typical way to use ornamental corn is to braid it together and hang it on a door.
What would fall be without dazzling gourds? So many kinds are available. Depending on the kind you choose, these may be solid green, yellow, orange, or multi-colored. They can vary in shape as well. For patio centerpieces the mini gourds are an excellent choice.
Broom corn can also be used for various kinds of fall designs. This is easy enough to grow. Normally I just add a couple rows to the vegetable garden, because the plants are very similar to ordinary corn or sorghum. Once the plants are allowed to dry naturally, they are ready to use as everlastings or to make actual brooms.
Fall is a fruitful time. The fruits of the ornamental peppers should be ripe in plenty of time for use as autumn decor. Depending on the variety you select to grow, the fruits may be yellow-orange to red, or even purple.
For fall color you can’t beat Chinese lanterns. These ripen to a bright orange in late summer and early fall. They’re covered with papery husks, referred to as ‘lanterns.’ The stems of Chinese lanterns are very easy to arrange. I have heard that the plant can become invasive, but it hasn’t been so in my experience.
The miniature pumpkins have earned a place of honor in fall decorations. These tend to have cute names that refer to their diminutive size, such as ‘Baby Boo’ or Jack Be Little.’ Generally the minis will be about three inches in diameter.
Whether you’re looking for fresh cut flowers or everlastings, hydrangeas are an ideal choice for fall arrangements. The size and color of the flower heads vary somewhat, depending on the variety you’re growing. The most popular seem to be the white and pink-flowering ones. The flower heads can be four inch across.
Take a look around your garden. Chances are you have some ornamental grasses that are suitable for fall arrangements. The ones with purple or copper-colored foliage would be superb. The fluffy flower plumes can be several feet tall, and are often used in fresh and dried arrangements. In some cases the flowering stems won’t last as long as some other dried flowers.
Nowadays it is very common to have indoor/outdoor living rooms, such as patios, decks, sunrooms, and conservatories, decorated with garden themes. When you’re planning fall-themed decorations, consider these areas. Appropriate decorations for these would be pillow covers, wall hangings, table linens, and rugs featuring fall floral motifs. For ideas the place to start is “Quick Quilted Miniatures” by Darlene Zimmerman from Krause Publications. This marvelous book contains easy step-by-step directions with full color photos and illustrations for 38 projects. Because these hangings are miniatures, you’ll be finished in no time. For the fall, the author created several exciting projects, including ones with colorful maple leaves, pine trees, and other gardening themes.
Fall is the time when so many garden craft materials are available. For dazzling ideas there’s no better source than “Creative Containers-the Resourceful Crafter’s Guide” by Jill Evans also from Krause. This wonderful guide features 50 delightful projects with full-size patterns that can be made from either recycled materials or supplies that cost under $5. The author is a designer and a member of the Society of Craft Designers. Learn how you can take a tin soup or vegetable can and turn it into a gorgeous flower vase, This particular project would be ideal for ornamental grasses and other fall florals. For another project, the author takes a #10 can and other materials, and creates a faux watering can that is ideal for an informal floral design. There are many other seasonal projects as well as ones for home décor.