Autumn has long been known as the season of the harvest. If you grow edibles, you know this is the time to collect all the goodies from the orchard or vegetable garden before the first frost and can, dry or freeze the excess produce to enjoy in coming months. In warm winter climates, it’s time to clear the remaining summer crops to make room for cool-season vegetables.
Edible plants are not the only bounty being offered up by the garden this time of year. Wander around your garden and you’ll find a wealth of materials to use for holiday decor inside your home. Snip late flowers for vases and gather pinecones, interesting seed pods, scavenge for twisted sticks or branches to spray paint, sparkle with glitter or tie with decorative ribbons for seasonal décor. Use them to hang from doors or couple with candles for centerpieces.
Celebrate autumn by piling up squashes, gourds and pumpkins from the garden to display on bales of hay, in woven baskets or stacked up on a colorfully painted ladder. Make your own flower arrangement with dried seed heads from ornamental grasses. Press large leaves into fine, wet cement or plaster for imprints to hang as décor or to set on a cut tree trunk as a DIY bird bath. Blend your creations into your landscape with cheerful, potted chrysanthemums.
Scour your property for the stuff you might think of as useless and turn it into art, permeable paving or containers for next year’s planting. Broken gutters can be hung as long container gardens, old clay pots can be stacked for display, broken wooden palettes can turn into elevated gardens or living walls and pieces of bark can become mulch. Work broken bricks or concrete into retaining walls or thread seeds to create natural jewelry.
If you live where snow or frost can close your garden down for the winter, rescue tiny plants and plant them with pebbles, sticks and little figurines to make an indoor container landscape.
The gifts from your autumn garden are limited only by your imagination. Use them and share them with friends and family. This is a wonderful time of year to have your garden pay you back for all the work you put into it during the growing season!
Photo credits: Jane Gates