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There’s something about Autumn… the smell in the air; the warm vibrant colors contrasting with cool temperatures. One can’t help but be inspired by the season. It’s the season of plenty. Our beautiful gardens have produced plenty of beautiful blooms for months and there is no reason to stop enjoying them now! Many of the rustic fall decorations you see at nurseries or in the supermarkets are easily composed from stuff you have in your very own garden! During that fall clean up don’t just discard those clippings- re-purpose them. Even dead branches can be spun in a decorative way.

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In this arrangement we used Coneflower (Echinacea), Coriander (Cilantro), branches, Hydrangea, Strawflower and grass, but there are many usable options. Take a walk and see what you’ve got outside to work with. Look for different and interesting shapes and textures. Flowers that have gone to seed or blooms that are on their last legs are great for arrangements. Just note, if some of your choices are still fresh they should be dried out first to prevent mold.

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To dry out cuttings properly, group them in small bunches. Bundle the stem ends and tie with string or twine. Hang upside down in a cool dry place like a garage or basement. Spreading them across a newspaper will also work, however leaves may dry to one side. Flipping every so often can help to dry evenly. It is best to remove any thick leaves from stems of larger flowers like on the Coneflower. Larger leaves are not always attractive when dry and removing them can quicken the drying process. Smaller leaves like on the Coriander are finer and will dry quickly producing a pretty and ideal rustic texture.

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Once you have chosen and dried your cuttings there are many things you can create. Bouquets can be made simply by bundling with twine and hanging indoors or out. Arrangements in an old canning jar or vase make great Thanksgiving centerpieces or decorations. For the ambitious, wreaths are also a great use of dried flowers and work beautifully with dried twigs or vines. Acorns or pine cones gathered into a small bowl also give a great autumn feel. Let your garden be your guide!

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