Archive for September 3, 2008

Autumn alternatives

The following is from Linn County Master Gardener Brenda Garbe:


WOW! Has it been cold the last couple of mornings when I stepped out the door!  And have you noticed how daylight comes much later?  Summer is fading way too fast!    But, the kids are back in school and the leaves are commencing to turn so it must be time to consider that the frost will soon be on the pumpkin.  The “summer” wreath will be replaced by the “fall” one this weekend. Here are some suggestions for fall decorations from the garden:

            Pumpkins are the first thing that we tend to think of when decorating the house and landscape for the fall season.  I’d like to add a couple of different suggestions that you may not have considered. 

            In addition to the usual stalks of corn and colored corn decorating the front entry, consider the colorful Celosia (cockscomb) for a material for wreaths or swags.  Or tuck some in with your corn stalks when binding.

            Helichrysum (strawflower), Limonium (statice) and Achillea (yarrow) are other common garden flowers that dry easily and last for a long time.  A light spray of clear acrylic will help hold any stray petals or leaves in place.  Rudbeckia may turn prematurely black when summers are cool, and makes a perfect addition to any Halloween display and will stand for a long time.

            My current favorites are the small ornamental odd-shaped gourds and the larger apple, bushel and birdhouse gourds.  The small ornamental gourds are often colorful and distinctly shaped with a wide range of colors and surface textures.  Add them to a fall display, wire them onto a wreath frame or even mount them on spikes like a garden fantasy display.

            Have you considered the branches of Euonymus alatus (burning bush) or Cornus Species (red –twigged dogwood) to bring out a fall decorating scheme?   These shrubs are grown primarily for their red colored stems that  stand out against the dreary winter landscape.  Incorporate your designs in front of your standing shrub or decorate it with some dried flowers or a grouping of big gourds  and pumpkins.

            Let your creative juices flow.  Use some native grasses, buy a straw bale from a farmer.  Have some fun!


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