Fall is a season of change and abundance and there are many inspiring elements to be found in our gardens. Nuts, cones, cut flowers, colourful leaves, and gourds are some of the simplest elements you can find almost anywhere this time of year. Arranging these elements on their own, or around a piece of fall decor, is a fun and simple way to create an indoor fall arrangement.
I started this arrangement by wandering my neighbourhood and local park. The days were beginning to become consistently cool and many leaves and fruit bearing trees were beginning to show off their fall splendor.
I started with a bright coloured stem from a large Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) growing wild at the edge of a park. It’s compound leaves provided me with many bright red and orange leaflets I could pull apart, and scatter around the base of my arrangement. I also took a small stem of Red Oak (Quercus rubra) leaves which had not yet turned colour. The neutral green helped me fill in my base and provided the Sumac leave’s vibrant colours something to pop off of.
The small park didn’t yield too much more, and so I continued my search elsewhere. Returning home, I came across a weeping White Pine (Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’), some Annabelle Hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) and a couple of large Horse Chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) in another public space I knew of near by. All great finds to decorate with.
Putting it all together
I decided to build my arrangement around a pumpkin tea light holder I picked up at a local craft store. The tea light holder gives me a functional and interesting focal point for my arrangement. It also allowed me to bring in the element of light to the arrangement, something often overlooked, but easily incorporated.
Please remember when creating any arrangement, never use open flame with dry, flammable materials. Battery operated tea lights are inexpensive and can usually be picked up year round at your local craft store, as well as many other safe, and versatile battery operated lighting options.
I began by placing my leaves in a semi-circle, as I placed my arrangement against a wall on my living room shelf. This created a base for the pumpkin to sit on making it look like it was resting on a bed of leaves.
After I had my base, I placed the pumpkin tea light holder in the center and continued to display the other elements I picked up around it.
I started at the back with larger elements, two hydrangea blooms, acting as a step down from the height of the candle holder, and to create balance on either side. I then continued to work my way forward adding elements, which were large to medium in size, eventually adding a white mini pumpkin and another hydrangea.
I continued adding the elements in this way, using my instinct and simply doing what I felt was appealing to me. I also kept in mind the overall scale of the elements as I placed them and the silhouette’s appearance when the candles were the only thing illuminating the arrangement. When creating such an arrangement, less can be more. You don’t want to add so much to your arrangement it looks like you’ve simply brought a bunch of stuff home, and poured it on your table.
Ultimately, you’ll know when you’re done. You’ll create something that you feel represents your feeling off fall and provides you with the look and excitement you felt at the beginning of your journey. Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer and there’s nothing wrong with changing it after you’ve “finished”.
Below are a few other combinations I created with the same material. The simplicity of the materials makes it easy to update, refresh and change the overall look of your piece as you see fit. With Halloween fast approaching, I traded an indoor jack-o-lantern, which I hadn’t used the last few fall seasons, and a decorative lantern for my tea light holder. What’s old can be new again.
Fall is a time of plenty providing many natural, free, and colourful materials for us to create unique, vibrant and inspiring displays. One is only limited back by one’s imagination and if you ever need help, take your cue from Mother Nature her self; spend a minute, or two, to enjoy the outdoors and all majesty fall has to offer.
written by Matthew Dressing, C.H.T.
horticultural technician – landscape technician – landscape designer
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