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Autumn bouquets

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Autumn bouquets

For me, the bouquets of autumn are the most beautiful of the year. Perhaps it's because I know there won't be many more bouquets to be had before winter sets in. Or maybe it's the special poignancy combining the season's last asters and roses, its tawny foliage, and the rich russet and golden tones of its fruits. Somehow autumn bouquets are more than just a bunch of pretty flowers. They symbolize all the richness of the season's bounty, contrasted with the fragility of the last blossoms and the stark hibernal beauty of seedpods and grass seedheads. These materials whisper of the bittersweetness of another season's passing.

But whatever the symbolism, fall is a time when nature and your garden abound in fodder for your floral creativity. Almost anything gathered in the fall landscape seems to make a good bouquet. Of course, the asters just gathered by Constance Mallet-Kargre in the beautiful Bois des Moutiers (see photo above) are the classic fall bouquet ingredient. But look closely, and you'll see she's included some sprays of rosehips and hydrangea as well.

Because the fall landscape offers such a wide ray of seemly disparate materials, even seemingly odds and ends can make an eloquent bouquet. In the bouquet at right, a sprig of holly foliage, a hydrangea blossom, sprigs of rosehips, and other bits look surprisingly harmonious together, just as outdoors, the mellow light of autumn melds the last blossoms, colored foliage, and dry seedpods into a seasonal tableau.

When you're collecting materials for fall bouquets, don't forget to include some colored foliage. Even hosta leaves (ordinarily I'm a hater of hosta) look pretty as they are touched with gold and brown. And garden and hedgerows abound with hips and other berries that can stand alone in a floral composition (as in the "topiary" globe at left) or be combined with late blossoms.

Autumn is a wonderful time to experiment with unconventional containers for your bouquets. Comb your tool shed, yard sales, and antique markets for unusual finds. At right, an antique French cream can transforms a simple bunch of grasses into an attractive informal arrangement.

In the photo at left, an antique French watering can from the Perigord holds a bunch of the season's last annuals. Watering cans, pitchers, and buckets all can make distinctive vases for your autumn creations, lending a rustic note that in tune with the feel of an autumn day in the country.

If your materials are dried--such as seedpods, grasses, or dried flowers, you can even use old plant pots and baskets as containers for your bouquet. One of my best fall decorating ideas came from this display by an arboretum at a French fall garden festival.
The display consisted simply of individual varieties of seedpods and fruits displayed in an array of antique flowerpots, baskets, wooden boxes and crates. The effect was so stunning I spent a full half hour photographing various parts of the display.

Autumn is a time when your garden and local wild landscapes are so full of inspiration that anyone can put together a graceful arrangement in just a few minutes. Besides, doing so gives you a great excuse to break off from your tasks and wander in your garden one of these last warm afternoons. Take your shears with you and gather the materials at hand for a bouquet that sings summer's swan song.


Products of Interest:
Straw cylinder vase
Valle Noire stoneware wine pitcher

Champagne perennial pruners

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