Spooky Trees: How To Make A Halloween Tree

Have you ever noticed how spooky a dead tree looks? A walk through the woods or a country neighborhood will likely let you find at least one dead tree.  For some reason, probably disease or insects, these poor trees kicked the bucket. Maybe, like humans, trees grow old and die. Old dead apple and pear trees are common, their gnarled branches knotted up like an old witch’s extremities.

halloween
These spooky looking limbs are the arms of a dead pear tree.

With some imagination, these spooky looking branches could turn into some really cool Halloween decor. Spray paint the branch with black spray paint.Tuck them into vases or incorporate them in Halloween-themed floral arrangements. The twists and curves of the gnarled branches would add interest and dimension to so many different arrangements.

This old dead branch is anchored in a plastic jack-o-lantern with rocks. This is the least expensive and most sustainable way to do this. Covering the opening with floral moss, Spanish moss or even dried leaves will hide the rocks.

Simply twist strands of purple and orange mini-lights among the branches of the old dead tree. The kids can decorate this Halloween tree further with paper cut-outs of bats and ghosts.

Use your imagination and create variations on the Halloween tree!

Goldenrod: My Favorite Wildflower Gets Tamed In Arrangements

 

My favorite fall wildflower is the goldenrod. Blooming from about late August to mid-October, it is a familiar sight in most of North America and Canada.  Although goldenrod is related to asters, most people consider it a weed. It is sometimes confused with ragweed.  However, goldenrod does not make people sneeze.

Goldenrod can be used in fall floral arrangements in interesting ways with a little imagination. Scrounge around for different containers and see what would look good with it.  With the right container, a bunch a goldenrod can look good all by itself.

goldenrod pitcher
I found a striped tea pitcher that made a great container for goldenrod.

 

Oak-leaf Hydrangea and Goldenrod

 

Along about the time the goldenrod makes it’s autumn debut, the hydrangeas are fading away day by day. In the next arrangement, once-white oak leaf hydrangea blossoms provide a focal point with a fountain of goldenrod spilling out around it. I added dried Queen Anne’s lace to give it a rustic look. It’s the perfect late summer or early fall centerpiece.

goldenrod & Hydrangea

Mums and Goldenrod

The next arrangement, a rather rustic vase holds some “store bought”mixed chrysanthemums alongside the goldenrod. It’s tame and wild together in one lovely bunch.

 

 

Zinnias and Goldenrod

This cute arrangement in a little old watering can goes great on  a small table. A few fading zinnias from the garden are paired with goldenrod. It seems to say goodbye to summer and hello to vibrant autumn color.

 

I hope these arrangements inspire you to use goldenrod in fall centerpieces this season. Happy fall!

 

 

 

How To Make A Sustainable Fall Wreath

autumn wreath

Sustainable Fall Wreath

003-225x300

Fall is a colorful time of the year. Chrysanthemums, asters, pumpkins and gourds all reflect the beauty of harvest time.

Recently, I was in one of those stores where virtually everything costs a dollar. I was behind two ladies at the cash register who purchased almost $70 worth of plastic and faux silk fall decorating items. Keeping in mind that everything in the store is a dollar, that is quite a lot of stuff!

I couldn’t help but think what a shame it was these ladies hadn’t thought about using all  natural items for their fall decorating. Nature provides a bounty of interesting colors and textures this time of the year. Just take a walk and look around!

Wildflowers and dried grasses or reeds can be used to make really pretty arrangements. Fresh flower markets have a good supply of popular fall flowers. Some green-thumbed folks are blessed with growing these in their gardens up until frost!

5673397_f260

Don’t overlook other sustainable items like acorns, pine cones and seed pods. Although they aren’t very colorful, they add lots of texture to give decorations that fall rustic feel.

For this sustainable fall door wreath, I used a traditional grapevine wreath from Michael’s as the base. These can be purchased at a crafts store or made at home. They seem fairly easy to make; however, it does look rather time consuming.

I would love to hear from anyone who has made a grapevine wreath. I do have grape vines to use, and that would be a real money saving idea.

With all the harder work of making the wreath base done for me, the rest was so easy! Larger items like pine cones and the big seed pod can be attached with picks and florist wire. Simply hot glue the acorns and smaller items to fill in. I used acorns, chestnuts, chestnut pods and a few other unidentified seeds and nuts. At the top, I used a magnolia pod. I love the red seeds that pop out of them.

Flowers from the garden or fresh flower market can be put in floral water tubes. Wrap the tubes with florist tape.  It’s OK to use faux silk flowers instead of fresh ones if preferred. They won’t require frequent changing.

But you won’t need $70 worth!

Using Hydrangeas In Flower Arrangements

I love using hydrangeas in cut flower arrangements… from the first pale blooms of spring until fall and beyond.

Hydrangeas in Early Spring

 

These pale blue hydrangeas were picked for a Mother’s Day brunch. Notice how the white blooms are beginning to turn blue. 

For this arrangement, a few springs of budding berries add interest. Consider adding pink or blue carnations and baby’s breath to fit the occasion.

Hydrangeas in Early Summer

002

The blues get deeper and pretty purples appear. These hydrangeas all came from the same bush! A galvanized vase gives them a summery look.

Hydrangeas in Late Summer

hydrangeas 2
These hydrangea blooms all came from the same bush in late summer.

Hydrangea “deadheads” are amazingly colorful as the season progresses. These deadheads are all from the same bush. Notice the variety of colors and textures in the close-up photo.  This arrangement has soft blue and green, and crispy beige and brown.

Deadheading hydrangeas is just another way of pruning them.  Some people just toss the deadheads on the compost pile. While that is a good thing to do, I really like to display mine. I put them in a variety of containers to enjoy on the patio and in the house.

It is not unusual in late summer and early fall to find a variety of colors and textures on the same bush!

 

Late summer hydrangea arrangement-great for outdoor entertaining.

I wanted to use a lot of these mop-head hydrangea blooms, so I chose a large Wedgwood urn as a vase. I had one still-blue blossom. The blue Wedgwood design would help it stand out.

I found some grasses or reeds by the road-side that have turned brown for the end of the season. They added a rustic look of autumn to my arrangement.

Use this arrangement outdoors or indoors to give a feeling of fall to a late summer day.

And Beyond…

dried hydrangeaFrosty mornings and cool nights hasten the turning of the dead heads to deep purple  and then  brown.  Hydrangeas can be easily preserved for dried arrangements with silica gel, flower drying kits or even by dipping them in a mixture of cornmeal and borax.

For a  dried brown arrangement,  it is best (and easiest)  to let them dry on the bush.  Notice the  tinge of purple around the edges of the blooms. It looks nice for now, and will eventually turn brown. Then the dried, brown blooms can be sprayed with clear Krylon or even hairspray.

An arrangement can be dressed up with floral picks of things like  greenery and butterflies.  A special container or vase helps as well.

This pretty arrangement will last the rest of the year- until  spring returns again with fresh blue, pink or white blossoms