Sunday, November 21, 2010

Garden clippings

Created with love
This is the time of year when I had hoped to share with you creative table decorating ideas for Thanksgiving  in true Martha Stewart style. You know the sort of thing; perfectly dried and pressed maple leaves scattered artfully across the starched white linen tablecloth (mine are all brown mush – the leaves not the tablecloth), miniature pumpkins and gourds freshly picked from the organic vegetable patch (Blue Jays really liked the squash…) and vases filled with berried stems, interesting leaves and the last few fall flowers (hmmm between the deer, the rabbits and the recent rainstorms the pickings are pretty darned slim out there).

Well Martha I’m a failure. I’ll never be able to assemble a towering display of fruit and flowers without them all crashing down like a fruit salad puree, nor carve a pumpkin to look like a turkey (nor carve a turkey to look like a turkey for that matter), nor able to cook and serve a sumptuous gourmet Thanksgiving feast for 20, with make up perfectly intact, not a single bead of sweat on my brow, no lumps in the gravy and Brussels sprouts cooked so perfectly that even my son will eat them (well ok that’s going a bit far. Not even Martha could swing that one). BUT I can at least bring a little something in from the garden to decorate the table in a very non-Martha-style. Oh yes, that’s right…….the rabbits.

The base was filled with hazelnut shells
(borrowed from our path!)
When all else fails we can cheat. Buy a little something, add a little something and keep it simple.

This time last year we had just moved into our new home and were in the throes of a total remodel. We had unpacked very little apart from camping-level necessities while the builders ripped walls and ceilings to the studs, re-wired, re-plumbed and re-built everything you can think of. Our kitchen was a disaster with counters consisting of plywood sheets wrapped in freezer paper and everything was covered with thick layers of dust and grit. Not exactly conducive to gourmet cooking let alone inspiring for grand floral design!

However my wonderful daughter took charge and brought home a lovely bunch of sunflowers. Then she found a pair of scissors (no small feat) and went off to see what she could find outside. All it took were a few fern fronds, clippings from the cedar trees, lichen-encrusted branches which had fallen to the ground plus a few curly willow branches and we had our centerpiece. Since our vases were still in boxes ‘somewhere’ Katie improvised with a Mason jar. It was perfect and reflected what the holiday is about; the love of family and appreciation for the harvest we have enjoyed.

Other ideas? Fill a hurricane vase with nuts add a few tiny leaves or fern fronds and nestle a fat candle into the midst. Or make napkin rings by wrapping vines such as honeysuckle or Wisteria around a rolling pin and twisting the ends together. (It's easier if you soak it for half an hour first then allow it to dry on the rolling pin). Insert the napkin and add a small piece of greenery for color. You can also insert a single flower into a water filled florists tube. Then hide the tube within the fold of the napkin as you insert it into the napkin ring so that just the flower shows. Small flowered chrysanthemums are perfect for this.

So there you have it. Thanksgiving from the garden for the ‘garden challenged’.

Now you have time to start on that ice sculpture of the pilgrims to greet your guests as they arrive……..

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