Autumn Decorations from the Garden
By Dr. Leonard Perry, University of Vermont Cooperative Extension
Autumn is often associated with certain decorations, including cornucopias,
garlands, straw or grapevine wreaths, and dried flower arrangements. Although
many decorations can be bought ready-made, making your own can be a fun
family activity for a fall afternoon.
For the cornucopia, which signifies a bountiful harvest with plenty to eat, you’ll
need the traditional horn-shaped basket (available at most craft or basket shops);
shellac or paint; real, dried, or artificial fruit and vegetables; pine cones; and
Paint or shellac the basket before you begin, allowing plenty of time to dry,
before you fill with your choice of items.
Enjoy your centerpiece, then in December turn it into a holiday decoration by
spray painting the cornucopia with gold or silver paint. Then stuff it with
greens, berries, and pine cones of all sizes.
A simple variation is a clear bowl filled with apples, walnuts, chestnuts, or
other fruits of the season.
Grapevine or Straw Wreath
Another decoration appropriate for the fall season is a straw or grapevine
wreath. Hop vines work great too. Again, supplies are available at craft shops.
Wrap the wreath with colorful ribbon, covering the entire surface, or loosely
wrap it, leaving sections exposed. Then add the finishing touches—a colorful
bow, a few sprigs of wheat, or a cluster of fruit.
Or, cover the wreath with a variety of dried flowers and leaves. Strawflowers
and other everlastings are ideal for this. Cut blooms and leaves into five- or six-
inch lengths. Work with your largest flowers first, spacing them in a random
pattern around the wreath. Then fill in with smaller flowers, pushing the ends in
firmly. For a fuller effect, face the flowers in all different directions.
Dried or Fresh Flowers
If you dried flowers from your home garden this year, or have bought some,
group these in bouquets with pods, cones, and candles for attractive table
Or buy fresh flowers, such as chrysanthemums, carnations, lilies, alstroemeria
(Peruvian lily), and roses for your table in the traditional fall colors of yellow,
orange, bronze, and maroon.
For a festive harvest touch, decorate your mantle or door entrance with a
garland of dried roses or other large blooms. You will need heavy quilting
thread, a tapestry needle, dried flowers, and beads or bows. Use a double
thread and string the flowers together from bloom to stem. You may want to
intersperse colored beads with the blooms, or alternate with tiny bows. Or you
could just add a tassel or huge matching bow at the ends of the garland.
Dried hydrangea blooms also make a nice garland. Use florist’s wire to tie them
securely to a cord, such as the type used to tie back draperies. Add ribbons or
colored Christmas balls. Or wire together shafts of wheat, trimming stems so all
pieces are about the same length. Add oranges or clusters of dried flowers for a
harvest look. This garland is particularly suited for an outdoor decoration.
Of course you could also go with the more traditional fall decorations --
pumpkins and gourds, for example, or bunches of colorful Indian corn tied with
a bow and hung on the front door.
But whatever you do, adding your own personal touches will make the end
product a work of art that’s truly yours.