Giv­ing thanks to the left­overs

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - SANTAFEINBLOOM - CA­ROLE A. LANGRALL

The abun­dant still-life ob­jects that na­ture cre­ates each fall never fails to ex­cite. It’s hard not to love the tow­er­ing bunches of dried corn­stalks; mis­shapen gourds, squashes and pump­kins stacked on top of each other; lacy or­na­men­tal cab­bages that look good enough to eat; and even those run-of-the-mill chrysan­the­mums burst into rich, jewel-toned col­ors, help­ing make the dreaded tran­si­tion from sum­mer to win­ter some­thing to look for­ward to.

Com­bined to­gether, these sea­sonal el­e­ments are so sim­patico, it’s hard to imag­ine them ever apart. Thank­fully, the cool­ing tem­per­a­tures of late fall should keep these sea­sonal mo­tifs alive in time for Novem­ber’s big hol­i­day, Thanks­giv­ing. How­ever, us­ing pump­kins, squashes, and gourds in­doors may re­quire a sec­ond trip to the gro­cer or nurs­ery if you bought them early in the sea­son, as rot can oc­cur from heat.

Fall’s bounty of fruits and veg­eta­bles in ta­ble de­signs have been a cel­e­bra­tory, hol­i­day sta­ple since the orig­i­nal cor­nu­copia was cre­ated cen­turies ago in Greece— not by the Pil­grims, as many be­lieve. How­ever, set­tlers brought a lot of at­ten­tion to the cor­nu­copia, where it has re­mained an Amer­i­can sym­bol of thank­ful­ness for the bounty of na­ture.

While it’s a good time to start plan­ning your menu for later in the month, why not start plan­ning your cen­ter­piece as well? Cre­at­ing the per­fect cor­nu­copia, flo­ral ar­range­ment, or ta­blescape has be­come as pop­u­lar as the meal, thanks to so­cial me­dia, where you can find an over­whelm­ing se­lec­tion of ideas. If you’re feel­ing con­fused by too many choices, why not turn to the out­doors, which in­cludes the desert, for­est, and gar­den? Store-bought flow­ers can be won­der­ful, but think of your guests’ re­ac­tions when you cre­ate some­thing you cut and cre­ated from na­ture all by your­self, for free. Now there is some­thing to be thank­ful for.

Santa Fe’s land­scape­may be best known for its end­less pinyons, ju­nipers, and cholla cac­tus, but there is much more hid­ing un­der­neath these plants than meets the eye. Dried sages, grasses, cholla that has be­come pet­ri­fied, oak­brush, sumac leaves, sage­brush, salt­brush, sil­ver­berry, ser­vice­berry, wolf­berry, man­zanita branches, and dried yucca pods all make won­der­ful ad­di­tions to ar­range­ments and can be gath­ered eas­ily with­out harm­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

If you haven’t had a chance to clean up your drive­way or dead­head your gar­den, start col­lect­ing those purple robe or honey lo­cust pods now be­fore they get moldy and fall apart. Their long, ma­hogany brown, curly shapes are per­fect for a fall har­vest ta­ble. If your flower beds have dried flower stalks from Echi­nacea, sun­flow­ers, this­tles, Lu­naria (sil­ver dol­lar plant), Datura (be care­ful of the spikes), and pop­pies, these un­usual shapes can add tex­ture and cre­ate a real state­ment.

Hav­ing enough room for the food and the cen­ter­piece can be tricky, but if you have a long, large ta­ble with suf­fi­cient room, try adding branches like salt cedar, red dog­wood, aspen, birch, wil­low, or even dried vines from Bos­ton ivy, Virginia creeper (both in­va­sive non-na­tives), grapevine, and trum­pet vine. These ac­cents make your design come alive with move­ment and or­ganic shape.

Berries from shrubs such as Nan­d­ina bush, Ore­gon grape holly, and pyra­can­tha are stun­ning in cen­ter­pieces, as are hawthorn, moun­tain ash, and fruit tree berries. Just be care­ful with chil­dren, as some of these can be poi­sonous.

So, in­stead of opt­ing for the store­bought cen­ter­piece of mini pump­kins, or­ange car­na­tions, yel­low mums, and dyed oak leaves, try your hand at cre­at­ing your own mas­ter­piece with the things Mother Na­ture left be­hind this sum­mer. Hav­ing your or­ganic menu match your or­ganic cen­ter­piece seems like the per­fect way you and your loved ones can give thanks to where it all be­gan — the gar­den.

Ca­role has been in the flori­cul­ture in­dus­try, from in­ter­na­tional whole­sale and re­tail sales to event plan­ning, for over 20 years. She has flo­ral stu­dios in Santa Fe and Bal­ti­more, was a Santa Fe Mas­ter Gar­dener, and sup­ports lo­cal/na­tional flower farms and beau­ti­fi­ca­tion projects. She is avail­able for demon­stra­tions and lec­tures. Con­tact her at clan­ or visit www. flow­er­

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