Articles by Jim Gainan

As published in the Billings Gazette

Growing Up: Enjoy the fall season with its rich, magical colors

Enjoy the fall season with its rich, magical colors

Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2011 12:00 am

The cool nights and warm afternoons of October produce one of the most beautiful color displays of the year.  Unrivaled by any other season, fall is unparalleled in its glory by its magical colors. It provides a great opportunity to supplement home decorating by capturing the warmth of the season with rich colors, spicy fragrances and cozy settings -- both outdoors and indoors.

Creating a festive outdoors to greet your neighbors and visitors can be as simple as placing pots of hardy mums or individual pumpkins on your porch or lining your walk. To create a more elaborate display, use straw bales as a foundation. Arrange them in tiers for a more dramatic look. Bundles of cornstalks can be propped up by the straw bales, tied around lamp posts and gates or fanned out against your house and fence.

Add color and interest by placing pumpkins of all sizes, odd-shaped squash and gourds, and bright outdoor plants such as mums or pansies throughout your display. Lengths of vines can be cut and twined around everything. There is an abundance of Engleman Ivy and Virginia Creeper in our area and it turns a brilliant burgundy in the fall.

Stuff an old set of clothes with straw to create a scarecrow. Use a pumpkin or an old stuffed pillowcase for a head, gloves for hands and top it off with an old hat.

Fresh flowers are beautiful additions to your interior. Bursting with color and life, a vase with seasonal flowers and rustic accents like tinted sunflowers, Chinese lantern, pumpkin tree, hypericum, rose hips, fine maple, bittersweet and rover mums will add the perfect touch to a kitchen island, bedroom or dining table. Whatever you do, place the flowers somewhere that you will see them regularly. They add gretchen fragrance, ambience and are a great-pick-me up, too!

To bring the festivity indoors, you don't need to drag a straw bale into your foyer. A shock of wheat or the tops of cornstalks bundled together with a rich fall ribbon can be hung on a wall or placed in baskets. For a seasonal centerpiece, arrange a bed of artificial fall leaves on a large platter so the leaves hang over the edge. Place an arrangement of pillar candles on the leaves and fill in the empty spaces with small pinecones, nuts or clusters of berries. Select spicy, cozy scents like cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

For more fragrance in your home, layer potpourri in a basket and cover with cones or nuts and place on coffee table or end table.

Create candleholders for your dinner table by carving out space in miniature pumpkins, gourds or apples. Wrap simple vases with raffia, ribbon, fall leaves, twigs or cinnamon sticks to create a fun fall look. For a more modern table centerpiece, fill a bowl or simple platter with green apples, gold leaves and use brown accents, such as pinecones or nuts.

Whatever you do -- have fun with it!

James M. Gainan is President of Gainan's Flowers & Garden Center in Billings.