Sunday, November 18, 2012

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A Fall Bouquet

The last flower has faded. All the leaves have fallen from the trees. And the frost has been on more than just the pumpkins.

It's time once again for the final fall bouquet.

This has become an annual tradition for me. I'm the only member of my immediate family who doesn't live in our hometown, so I always spend Thanksgiving at the house of a relative. I usually make this bouquet as sort of a host/hostess gift using dried materials from my garden.

(Of course, there have been several years when I've forgotten the arrangement in my rush to get out the door, but I try to tell myself it's the thought that counts.)

Finding good quality materials in the garden wasn't as easy this year, courtesy of the drought. I started with the old standbys --  hydrangeas, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum 'Northwind'), coneflowers (Echinacea ssp.) and Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum). I threw in some seed pods from sweet coneflower (Rudbeckia 'Henry Eilers') and some cattails cut from a roadside ditch.

Then I added some dried Queen Anne's Lace. Yes, the same wildflower/weed that spread rampantly in my garden, causing countless hours of back-breaking labor. It does look nice dried, however, with its starburst-like seedheads. Anyway, I figured it was pay-back time.

Finding some color proved to be my biggest problem. With last year's warm, extended fall, I could use some brightly colored leaves from my trees and shrubs. Not this time. The only bit of color I could find was a slight red lingering on my sedum's seedheads. I quickly snapped those up.

Eventually, I decided to bite the bullet and visit a craft store where I bought some dried yellow flowers plus some seed pods with a slight lavender tinge. Pricey, but definitely worth it.

So there you have it. I hope you'll try making your own version. You don't need anything fancy. I used a Mason jar filled halfway with river rock to hold all the stems upright. A bit of raffia tied in a bow added a final touch.

Don't sweat the details. After all, this bouquet will be fleeting, one that will quickly give way to holiday greens. It is, however, a good way to share some of your garden's bounty with your family on a special day.

Here's wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

By Karen Geisler


  1. What a beautiful tradition! I'm not sure I'll get to it this year for various reasons, but it's an awesome way to celebrate the last blooms/cuttings before the snow flies. Thanks for sharing! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hope you had a great holiday. We actually had some light snow this morning. Much too early for me.

  2. What a nice gesture - thanks for sharing it with us. Enjoy your holiday!

  3. One of the main reasons I miss my garden is the seeds and fall fauna that remains, keeping the birds happy for many an hour lingering on the heads of flowers pecking at the remaining seeds and hiding out in the ground cover. Fall bouquets are some of the most beautiful to me, no more the bright coloured flowers, just the natural beauty of what remains from a long hot summer.

    1. I totally agree. Hope you had a good holiday!

  4. Love the bouquet. I travel out of town to see family and cannot bring my garden but what a lovely idea.

    1. Thanks. My bouquet ended up being a little too tall for our car. Had to hold it all the way there. I'll definitely have to make it more low profile next year. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!