GOURDS: The Centerpieces of Fall

As the cool breezes of autumn shake leaves from the trees, the colors of decorating begin to change. Embracing the mood of the season, many of the brighter colors of summer are now replaced by oranges and yellows.

Popular items to include in autumn decorating are ornamental gourds. Their yellows, golds, and greens plus their variety of shapes lend the right touch to table and porch ornamentation. They are often complemented with flowers of yellow or rust hue such as mums and, of course, the always-popular pumpkins.

Some gourds are round, some twisted, some have a smooth skin, and some a bumpy texture. All provide a delight to the eye.

A variety of ornamental gourds can be piled high in a basket and placed on the main or a side table. Others can be used in baskets that decorate the front porch or the yard.

A nice touch is to use a hollowed out pumpkin instead of a basket. Entertaining? Small gourds can be used as place cards with the name tag of the guest inserted.

Gourds can be picked from your own garden when the stems dry and turn brown. They should be cut from the vine with some of the stem still attached. You will be sad if you don’t follow this very important step in the process.

Didn’t grow any gourds? Not a problem in autumn. Look for them at a roadside stand, a farmer’s market, or even in the grocery store.

Gourds used in casual autumn decorating that come straight from the garden are not exposed to methods such as drying and shellacking. These gourds are only expected to last for the season and then be discarded as Christmas takes its turn on the decorating scene.

For fun Fall decorating ideas, such as the one shown above, please go online and visit www.bhg.com (better known as Better Homes & Gardens). There is a plethora of ideas for those who are inspirationally challenged, such as myself.

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