The nights are drawing in, the clocks have gone back and the colours of the trees and foliage are amazing; I love this time of year! Burnt oranges, yellows and browns are everywhere; it is a great time of year to collect lots of free goodies from good old mother-nature. Fruits like apples and pears are in abundance and we can all easily enjoy English favourites like Apple Pie and heart warming pumpkin soup and even take part in some apple bobbing.
Autumn is a great time for flower arranging, this year our normal Halloween pumpkin has become multi-functional. It was not only a provider of a meal, but it also was used as a lovely holder for a display of flowers. Creating a lovely eco container! Try adding miniature Gourds (Tiny Pumpkins in a huge array of colours – yellows, oranges, even spotty ones) next to the larger exhibit to add extra definition to your display. The Gourds also look good piled up (with or without wood bark and pine cones) on a wooden rustic cheese board surrounded by tea-lights in miniature holders, the colours look just amazing. Miniature pumpkins also look good pinned into a larger flower arrangement with autumnal flowers and leaves, it adds a point of interest and gives a real feel of the seasons; try adding candles (but do not light due to fire hazard) for extra dimension.
Many florist shops add Halloween balloons, black and orange ribbons/tassels/wrapping and even plastic ghosts and ghouls on sticks to their arrangements. All very nice, but for me I prefer natural items rather than the plastic commercial type; it seems more fitting with the season somehow. If you really must add a little extra, a nice non-plastic idea is to make your own little ghost on a stick. Crazy but very effective; place a small Satsuma at the top of a wooden kebab stick, (wipe juice away) next add a large white hankie (cotton if possible) and place the hankie on top of the Satsuma and arrange into a traditional ghost shape, then tie thin black ribbon directly below the Satsuma (the waist of the ghost shape) finally draw on two black eyes and you have your home-made ghost ready to pop into your arrangement!
Pine cones, chestnuts, leaves and sprigs of holly can all be collected up for the months to come; great for your Christmas decorations. Autumn is a great time to prepare and it’s a perfect time to have a lovely walk in the country and collect bountiful bags full of natural items that can be re-used. In the case of pine cones this reuse can happen for many years to come. Pine cones look great in Christmas wreaths and decorations; you can spray then with glitter or keep them natural and then hang on the tree. I have even placed pine cones with fairy lights in a tall glass vase for a nature inspired light arrangement; this can be used all year round!
Now is also the time to dry out your oranges/orange segments for your Christmas decorations. These can be hung on the tree, used upon wreaths/table decorations or even distributed within winter Potpourri. The best way to dry out oranges is to cut marks into the flesh, make a pattern and dry them out on a rack for a few days, somewhere warm is best. Combined with holly, cinnamon sticks, foliage, leaves and pine cones and hey presto you have an amazing natural display.
I remember at school I was taught that Autumn was a time of Harvest celebration dating back to the Pagan times; feasting on the crops of the year, with large displays of fruit and vegetables distributed to the needy. Its seems that once the Halloween and Firework night celebrations are over the end of Autumn draws near and we all certainly start to think about Christmas and the festivities to come. But for now it’s nice to enjoy it before winter really kicks in and when we start to dream of snowy/icy scenes and warm cosy fires.