Featured Blog: Fifty Shades of Brown-The Shapes and Colors of Fall

Having a great time noticing, appreciating and using the shapes and colors provided in the fall landscape.

You've heard of "Fifty Shades of Gray" - how about Fifty Shades of Brown? 

That is just about what our landscape looks like now.  That is not necessarily bad.  I like brown shades and tones, everything from ecru, to beige, to carmel, to bronze, to rust, to deep chocolate brown and almost black on some tree trunks.

Once the reds and oranges of the leaves are gone, do we even notice the richness of the changing landscape accented here and there with interestingly shaped branches and multiple shades of green?  Or, do we just think things will remain blah until the snow comes?

If that is the case, let's do something about it. The flower boxes and lush pots are emptied but you'd really like some color out on the front steps or on the back deck in time for Thanksgiving. 

You looked longingly at the spruce or other evergreen stems - then looked at the price.  You thought about the other items you'd like to go with them and decided that your money could be better spent.  You were probably right.  Why not have some fun.

Let's take a look around the yard. Hum, there are some red dogwood stems, some dried sedum flowers.  That evergreen tree could use a bit of trimming.  See those great tall grasses and those red berries on the barberry bushes.  There are red/orange hips on the rose bush and the hydrangea flowers have dried a light tan.  Look, there are some pinecones, some stems that could be cut from the birch tree or some from the contorted willow...

You get the idea. 

There is lots of interesting material out there in your yard or in the ditch that could be used for one or more pots.  Starting with the pot/container, it must be sturdy enough to withstand the wind if it is out in the yard or on the step, but not so heavy you can't move it.  Clay or pottery pots wll crack and break if frozen with water inside.  A plastic or metal container will work but don't fill it totally with dirt or sand or it will be too heavy to move. 

You can use tin cans, pine-cones, plastic peanuts as fill in the bottom, then use dirt to continue filling the container.  If it gets wet it will freeze but that will hold your plant material stable even in a light wind.

Time for your plant material.  Think of the shape of an oval, a pyramid or an elongated triangle.  You want to consider the height of the first item you select.  If your pot is 12 inches tall you'll want your highest point at least 12 inches plus half of that or 6 inches, plus the diameter of the lip of the pot.  It could go higher as long as you keep everything in proportion.

Start with your basic line using a good tall piece of evergreen, tall grasses, a branch, whatever you found in your yard.  If using dried lily stems, grasses or other stems you can tie them together to make a sturdier upright piece. 

The coffee color of the sedum is lovely but if you want more color, use the leftover can of orange Halloween spray to color the sedum or use another color scheme by adding some pink or gold to the dried hydrangea flowers, to pine cones or milkweed pods.

With the structural items in place, now is is time to use the smaller items to fill in your pot.  This is when the lily pods, rose hips, barberry stems, smaller evergreen pieces or whatever you have found can be used.  Your imagination is the only limit.  You don't have to do this alone; let your grandchildren, your scout troop, a friend get into the act.

Perfection isn't the goal.  Working with what one has, using the colors of fall to brighten your immediate surroundings, using your imagination and having a great time.  Now, that is a wonderful goal!

When your pot is complete, take a picture and send it to http://roseville.patch.com/join?return_to=/&type=photos for the picture gallery or to add to my blog.

                           HAVE A HAPPY, FUN FILLED THANKGIVING.   

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Shari Dion November 19, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Great ideas. Thanks, Rose!
Scott Carlson November 19, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Yes, Rose. Anything to less the drabness of the more barren fall.


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