“Color Inside and Out” – Published in Hilton Head Monthly – November 2010

Color Inside and Out

I love decorating for the fall and winter holidays. Halloween begins the season, followed by Thanksgiving, and culminating in a designers dream, Christmas. Tradition mixed with my passion for nature, crafts, and color all come together for two months of pure ornamental bliss.

One of my favorite pastimes is going for a walk and collecting pieces of found treasures. Cut branches of Red Maple, Sweet Gum, Nandina and Bradford Pear can be stunning in a vase. Baskets filled with acorns and nuts are symbolic of the fall season. Finding interesting seed pods such as Wisteria, Magnolia, even Okra, add texture to the autumn potpourri. Pyracantha has glorious orange red berries that make wonderful additions to a bouquet. Grapevines are abundant here. It’s easy to wrap them around vases for added embellishment. Cassias are in bloom at this time of year. Their showy bright yellow blooms are beautiful simply cut and displayed.

Fruits and vegetables are great sources of instant color and provide a symbol of the fall bounty. Their beauty is in their simplistic form and often subtle hues. Bowls of apples, oranges, and lemons look fresh and colorful on the kitchen table. Pomegranates and pears are very festive. Pumpkins and gourds are fun and interesting. I can’t seem to resist them or the Indian corn when I see them at the grocery store. They come in so many sizes and shapes and work well both inside and out. It makes me smile when I see collections of these squashes lining steps and congregating on our decks. Another idea for our edibles is to use them as candle holders.

Hurricane vases are one of those exceptionally decorative inventions. Fill them with cranberries, small gourds or pumpkins, then place an arrangement of color inside for a dramatic effect. They can also be filled with beans or marbles, with a potted plant perched on top. Orchids are stunning when presented this way.

Outdoors, the entryway becomes the focal point. This is the first impression of your home and color can really make it warm and inviting. Potted plants are the best choice here and  in the lowcountry there are many choices available year round. During the fall season, mums, pansies, marigolds, snapdragons, and calendulas all come in an array of the seasons autumnal colors. Pair these with crotons, red fountain grass, bronze leaf fennel, red mustard, chard, cabbages, and kale, to add texture, depth and contrast to the displays.  Picking one or two colors creates more drama than mixing many colors in this small space. Group several pots of varying size together, mass all with differing shades of the same color and you have an impressive entry.

Purchased grapevine wreaths make quick decorations. Sprigs of flowers and berries can easily be inserted into the twining branches of these wreathes. Place on your front door for a cheerful holiday welcome. Replace the fading blooms with a bright red bow to welcome in the next holiday season.

Color brings life to our lives. What a pleasure to have our homes filled with color inside and out this holiday season.