Join Anna as she shows you how to make an assortment of decorative fall wreaths with burlap mesh, ribbon, and work-wreath forms.
Allen shows us what elements go into the perfect fall garden party, including things like the tablescape and other types of decorations.
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Practical tips for style, comfort and sustainable living from designer and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith. Allen dissects style and function to reveal the tips that will take your home and garden to the next level.
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P. Allen Smith is an award-winning designer and lifestyle expert and host of two public television programs, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table and the syndicated 30-minute show P. Allen Smith Gardens. Smith is one of America’s most recognized and respected design experts, providing ideas and inspiration through multiple media venues. He is the author of the best-selling Garden Home series of books published by Clarkson Potter/Random House, including Bringing the Garden Indoors: Container, Crafts and Bouquets for Every Room and P. Allen Smith’s Seasonal Recipes from the Garden. Allen is also very active on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Allen’s Blog and YouTube as well as on the eHow Home channel. His design and lifestyle advice is featured in several national magazines. Learn more at http://www.pallensmith.com.
With a resurgence of garden parties during spring and summer afternoons, these tips will help make your garden party even more special. Whether you present them as thank you gifts or as wedding favors, our suggestions will make you appear the thoughtful hostess.
Garden Parties, which were common during the Victorian Period, can run the gamut from a dressy afternoon tea to everyone arriving in their gardening ware to help work in the hostess’s garden. The garden party is, also, an excellent idea to bring people together for gardening clubs, a wedding shower or for the first time homeowner. Each guest brings a plant (small shrubs, ornamental grasses or other perennials) and a tool, or other piece of gardening equipment, whether new or a gift from the guests own tool shed.
For parties with gift exchanges, guests can bring items relating to gardening such as a plant, tool, container, garden ornament, etc… The hostess will need to somewhat define what types of items that guests should bring such as indoor, outdoor, flowering, non flowering, tools, etc.
One way of giving away plants as favors is to use small potted plants on the tables as all or part of the table decorations or tiny potted plants can be used as place card holders. The nursery pots can be covered with tissue paper, burlap or other fabric and tied with a colorful ribbon or twine or even repotted into inexpensive decorative or plan clay pots. Plants that work great for this are: herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, lavender), mini palms, mini schefflera, young Shasta daisies, sunflowers seedlings, young ornamental grasses or bamboo as well as starter plants such as tomatoes.
Handing out seedlings as wedding favors has been popular for quite sometime. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind.
• Seedlings are seasonal and only available November through May. During the summer months, one would need to select small potted evergreens or potted herbs.
• Plants need to be ordered 6 to 8 weeks in advance from the nursery or greenhouse so that delivery can be timed for the week before the wedding.
• Designate a person, or persons, to be responsible for separating the seedlings and bagging each one with a handful of moist peat. This needs to be done within a couple of days before the ceremony so that they are still fresh and then kept in a cool, dark area such as garage, basement or pantry.
• Where will the plants be held (at the ceremony or reception) before being handed out? It should again be a cool, dark area out of the way. Heat and sun will dry them out possibly causing the plants to wilt severely or kill them. Depending on how many guests are expected, these boxes can take up valuable space.
• The most commonly used plant varieties for handing out as favors are: pines, spruces, dogwoods, lilacs, red maples, even late spring/summer flowering bulbs.
Using plants for gifts or wedding favors is long lived. Be sure to keep in mind your guests lifestyle. If most of your guests are city dwellers residing in apartments, they are not going to have anywhere to plant most shrubs or trees, so herbs or flowers would be quite thoughtful.
Written By Cheryl Jones, Greenwood Nursery
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Fall has to be the most perfect time for an outdoor get together. Invite a few friends over and celebrate. Just like when you entertain indoors, entertaining outdoors requires some sprucing up as well. Take an objective walk through your garden area and decide where you want everyone to gather.
Pick a focal point as your backdrop and you’re ready to begin.
- Pull out the tallest or widest spreading weeds
- Clip out dead branches (be sure to save any larger dead shrub or tree branches and “plant” them in a bucket with sand or gravel, spray paint it and add fun lights – voila! a decoration)
- Remove any dead plants
- Prune and dead head those plants with spent blooms
- Add a few well placed splashes of color (such as newly planted containers, mums that you just found at the farmer’s market or sunflowers in tall containers or baskets will make a huge difference and they can cover up any imperfections)
- If you can’t find fresh cut sunflowers, pick up some silk ones from your local craft store. They work great in a pinch. The newer silk ones look amazingly real now and it’s the color and atmosphere that you’re going for anyway
- Remember, after the sun sets, add some candlelight and the atmosphere becomes magical
- Sweep or hose off any stone, wood or concrete walkways, patios or decks the day of the gathering
- Put down a new layer of mulch, or if you haven’t the time pick up a large bag of aged compost from the hardware store a day or two before the event and put a scoop of it here and there in spaces where the ground is visible. This limited effort will still give your garden a fresh, well kept appearance and really makes the plants pop.
A folding table or two will be perfect. No tablecloth? Use an old sheet or burlap and tie off the corners at the table legs or use hair bands to secure it by bunching the fabric immediately underneath the table at the corners and tying it off with the band. Quilts work nicely too and have better weight. Some potted herbs on the table make for interesting and wonderfully fragrant mini-centerpiece.
What to serve. Keep it simple and quick. Fall is a great time for singe pot dishes such as chili, hardy soups, coq au vin, lasagne or beef daube. Most of these dishes are perfect for the slow cooker, leaving you more time for other projects or just looking good. A few garnishes, bakery bread, bowls and spoons will allow the guests to help themselves. And, what better way to end a hardy fall meal than with brownies, apple pie, pumpkin rolls or spice cake? And though, it’s optional, a good (not necessarily expensive) red wine. Yummmmmm……
Here are a few suggestions for bringing to life some of those empty flower pots. All you need to do is select one plant from the first group, one to two plants from the second group and one to two from the third group. Do be mindful of your selected colors when pairing though. Try to select plants with contrasting colors and textures for best results.
Group 1 (Spotlight Plant):
- Thuja Green giant tree
- Hameln ornamental grass
- Karley Rose ornamental grass
- Morning Light ornamental grass
- Magnolia Jane
- Barberry Sunjoy Gold Pillar
- Russian Sage
- Nandina Firepower
- Japanese Red Maple
- Dark green or pyramidal arborvitae
Group 2 (Filler Plants):
- Hellebore Ivory Prince
- Heuchera Plum Pudding
- Heuchera Mystic Angel
- Autumn Brilliance Fern
- Japanese Painted Fern
- Sungold Cypress
- Ogon Grass
Group 3 (Draping Groundcover):
- Angelina Sedum
- English Ivy
- Baltic Ivy
- Creeping Rosemary
- Elfin Thyme
- Corsican Mint
- Red Creeping Thyme
- Kewensis Euonymus
Especially in Group 1, these suggestions are based on younger plants. After a couple of years in the container, they will be ready to be transplanted into a permanent location.
Add twinkle lights to trees, fence or frame. The clear ones with a golden tint are almost like candlelight and a few well placed candles are a great touch. Put some tiny gravel or sand in the bottom of old glass jars and then steady some chunky candles in them. If becomes a little breezy, they won’t blow out. The jars make excellent hurricanes and can safely double as walkway lights.
I hope this gives you a few ideas on making your garden and fall evening a special one. Why not share your favorite fall entertaining tips and ideas? I look forward to hearing from you.