In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
October, 2004
Regional Report

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Autumn holidays are in full swing, so let natural decorations lighten your mood.

Natural Decorations

Don't let holiday decorating become stressful. Here are some ideas for naturally beautiful holiday decorations that are simple to make.

Make it Fast
Take one pumpkin, add some clothes and a hat, a rainbow package of tempera paint, and some stuffing, and you have a lovely lady ready to welcome trick or treaters or any fall visitors. Fill the clothing with newspapers, hay or pinestraw to make a plump body. As you stuff, contour the costume to fit the chair or bench she will rest on. Use hay or straw at the neck and at the ends of the sleeves where you stuff in some gloves for hands. Paint a sweet face on the pumpkin, set her on top of the body, add a hat and more hay for hair, and she's ready for a party.

More Gourds
Craft stores and farmer's markets are full of dried gourds, so get one for each member of your family. Gather paints, markers, glitter and whatever else strikes your fancy to turn them into "portraits" of your family. Use the hole cut for the birds as the mouth, add some eyes, halo and wings for a choir of cherubim. Or top each one with a tiny Santa hat and nestle them in a bed of freshly cut pine atop the piano.

Southern Gold
Magnolia leaves and seed cones, hydrangea flowers, fatsia and nandina leaves, even okra, can be transformed by antique gold spray paint into magical accents for a simple green wreath. Or gather them together with a lacy gold bow for a truly southern door spray. Spray pecans and pine cones and attach them to green holly or glossy viburnum sprigs with wire or the thin elastic that bead bracelets are made of (it's easier to handle, especially for the kids).

Use the Leftovers
Make a custom-made welcome sign to hang in the window or decorate the foyer. Write your family's last name on a stiff piece of cardboard or pressboard in big block letters. Grab some glue and those garden seeds laying around in the drawer. You know you've got some dated "2000," so get rid of them artfully. Glue large seeds individually and sprinkle in the little ones, like tomato and radish. Paint them or leave the natural shades. Frame the name with bay or other small leaves, and spray the entire sign with "snow" from a can; it's the only kind we'll see!


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