Late Season Garden Home Décor

Centrepiece with gathered cone accents.
Centrepiece with gathered cone accents.
Photo: Deborah Maier

In fall, there is a lull in gardening tasks. If the weather is nice, there are some maintenance chores that can be done such as ensuring the eaves are cleared of leaves, mulching perennial beds after the ground freezes, and tidying the garden shed. This leaves plenty of time for more artistic pastimes for the gardener.

In the summer, if a gardener wants to add a bit of the garden to home décor, cut flowers can be the solution—a lovely bouquet of in season blooms is always nice. Regular cutting of many annual flowers such as zinnia, calendula, nigella, and cosmos for bouquets encourages more blooms. 

Now that it’s fall, what can the gardener do? Well, it’s a traditional time for door wreaths. And just like planning to have a cut flower garden, a gardener can plant with late season décor in mind. Throughout the year, and especially now, collect dried seed heads to add to décor pieces. Ideally, throughout the growing season the gardener would collect blossoms to dry and save seed heads. Some gardeners grow strawflowers. These plants produce blooms with dry straw-like petals that preserve beautifully and add a splash of colour to whatever arrangements they are used in. Many Calgary gardeners grow Anabelle hydrangeas and double-flowered peony varieties. These full-blossomed flowers if picked just after opening and hung upside-down to dry, make beautiful additions to dried arrangements and accents in seasonal wreaths. 

Grape vine wreath bases pair well with foraged garden plant materials for an artistic touch
Grape vine wreath bases pair well with foraged garden plant materials for an artistic touch.
Photo: Deborah Maier

Grape, twig, or ribbon covered wreath bases can be accented with the dried material collected from the garden. Plants for late collection include sea holly (Eryngium), globe thistle (Echinops), and stonecrop (Sedum). These plants have very durable seed heads that remain throughout the winter, especially if it is cold and dry. The seed heads of coneflowers (Echinacea) are also quite durable. If you grow silver wormwood (Artemesia ludoviciana), it makes a lovely silver accent. If collected before the first hard frosts, it can be dried bent in a curve, then used as a wreath base—naturally silver and elegant. 

Annabelle Hydrangea make for beautiful additions to seasonal wreaths
Annabelle Hydrangea make for beautiful additions to seasonal wreaths.
Photo: Deborah Maier

Fresh evergreen wreaths are commonly hung on doors as part of our holiday traditions. The evergreen wreath can also be decorated with foraged garden accents. If you have a spruce or pine tree, the cones are lovely seasonal additions that never fade. If you’re crafty and enjoy a few faux touches, try adding a little white paint and glitter to the cones for snow- or frost-like touches.

Other material from garden shrubs can also be used in the wreaths. Cutting stems of dogwoods with red, gold, or green stems will add a bit of colour. Branches with leaves that failed to fall, will add texture as well as colour. Don’t forget about berries! Rose hips and mountain ash berries will add a splash of red to an arrangement. 

Rose hip berries add colour to your arrangements
Rose hip berries add colour to your arrangements.
Photo: Deborah Maier

This year, when displaying season décor include material foraged from the garden. Next year, add a few plants with fall décor in mind and choose some with coloured stems or interesting and durable seed heads.  It’s the quiet season, time to work on your garden plan and dream about what you’ll be planting next year!

If you would like to learn more about gardening, visit the Calgary Horticultural Society website at calhort.org. 

Deborah Maier
Calgary Horticultural Society

Calgary Horticultural Society

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